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Middlesex-London Health Unit

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Food Waste

Wasting food not only wastes money but is bad for the environment because it produces harmful greenhouse gas emissions (like methane) that contribute to climate change. Canadians waste a lot of different food but waste more vegetables and fruit by weight than other foods.


According to the National Zero Waste Council, consumers are responsible for the largest share of food waste, approximately 21% of total food waste. The remaining food waste is created along the food supply chain, where food is grown, processed, transported and sold (retail, restaurants, hotels and more).

Some food waste, such as fruit and vegetable peels and cores, bones, eggshells, tea bags and coffee grounds cannot be avoided. However, a lot of the food we throw away is truly “wasted food” that could have been eaten by making some simple meal planning and shopping changes. Reducing food waste at home can be relatively easy, help you get more out of your food and save you money. We often waste good food because we buy too much, don’t plan our meals, or don’t store our food properly. It’s estimated that avoidable food waste costs the average Canadian household from $600-$1,100 per year. Food waste is a significant issue across Canada.


Food Waste Disposal

*Permission granted from Middlesex-London Food Policy Council Nov. 2, 2021.


The City of London started its Green Bin Program in January 2024. Green bin programs can help use some of the unavoidable food waste, but it is still better to prevent wasting the food in the first place.

Tips to Reduce Your Food Waste

Small changes can make a big difference to reduce food waste.

  1. Plan your meals ahead of time. This helps determine how much food you need.
  2. Make a grocery list and stick to it. This helps avoid bringing home unnecessary extras that can’t be used before spoiling.
  3. Store your food properly. Know what goes in the fridge, freezer or left on the counter and for how long.
  4. Use “Best Before” dates as a guide for optimal freshness, taste, texture, and nutritional value. They are not an expiry date. Many foods are useable after the Best Before date and do not need to be thrown out.
  5. If you like having leftovers in the fridge, plan to use them in different ways so it feels new.
  6. Prepare just enough. Unused leftovers mean money in the garbage and eventually the landfill.
Date of creation: November 23, 2021
Last modified on: February 7, 2024


1Arrell Food Institute at the University of Guelph (n.d). Food and Food-related Waste in Canada. Retrieved from
3Government of Canada (2019). Date labelling on pre-packaged foods. Retrieved from
4Government of Canada (2021). Food and Organic Waste Framework. Retrieved from
5National Zero Waste Council (2020). Bringing together organizations to advance waste prevention and the circular economy in Canada. Retrieved from
6Ontario Food Collaborative (2021). Food Waste Audit Guide. Retrieved from