The National Zero Waste Council today announced a National Food Waste Reduction Strategy to combat climate change, reduce municipal disposal costs and improve community resiliency.“Canadians waste an estimated $31 billion worth of food each year and our country lags behind other nations in tackling the issue of avoidable food waste,” said Malcolm Brodie, Chair of the National Zero Waste Council. “Today, we are providing a solid foundation for a Canadian solution to reduce food waste.”The National Food Waste Reduction Strategy, presented at Metro Vancouver’s Zero Waste Conference in Vancouver this afternoon, is built on three critical pillars:
New government policies
Innovation in technology and community infrastructureShifting consumer behaviour
“Canada needs a coordinated and collaborative approach to tackling the massive global problem of food waste,” said Brodie. “The US, UK and the EU have already recognized that addressing food waste can help deliver solutions to climate change, community resiliency and other resource efficiency issues.”Success of the strategy depends on collaboration with the Government of Canada. Federal government involvement could include:
Setting a national food waste reduction target of 50% by 2030
Creating a tax incentive for food donations to charitiesRevising product labelling laws to dispel confusion about best-before dates
Reducing food waste is a significant opportunity to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while achieving a broad array of co-benefits. Emissions from the disposal of organic materials in landfills account for about four percent of all of Canada’s GHG emissions.Nearly half of all food waste occurs at the consumer level. A national behavioural change campaign would help shift prevailing attitudes about food and encourage shopping, storing and cooking habits that reduce the amount of food that’s wasted.“We call on the federal government to move forward to adopt our strategy which can yield significant economic, social and environmental benefits,” added Brock Macdonald, Vice Chair of the National Zero Waste Council. “Tackling food waste is an overlooked opportunity to assist our nation in preventing waste and meeting greenhouse gas reduction targets.”On September 16, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities backed the tax incentive which is a component of the National Food Waste Reduction Strategy and called on the federal government to take action.“The Zero Waste Conference today was filled with ground-breaking discussions that will help Metro Vancouver as well as our counterparts across the country to find new and innovative ways to prevent waste,” said Metro Vancouver Chair Greg Moore.Founded in 2013 by Metro Vancouver in collaboration with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the National Zero Waste Council is a cross sector leadership initiative of business, government and community organizations to advance waste prevention. Its members include major businesses and Canada’s five major metropolitan areas.“We commend the National Zero Waste Council for taking a leadership role here in Canada with the unveiling of their National Food Waste Reduction Strategy. This kind of leadership will help us achieve sustainability that will benefit future generations,” added Moore.In addition to the federal government, the collaboration of other orders of government as well as business, industry, non-profit sectors and the media are necessary for advancing real progress on the National Food Waste Reduction Strategy. A national target for reducing food waste will help to focus our collective efforts.