Capital News Online

Apple left on post. | Photo © Rebecca Hardiment.

On October 5 the New Democratic Party tried to pass a bill to officially name October 16 National Food Waste Awareness Day. Bill C-231 was rejected by Parliament, as October 16 is already World Food Day, but the issue of food waste still remains.

In 2007 Statistics Canada estimated that only 71 per cent of food was consumed. Value Chain Management International estimates that Canada’s food waste totals over $31 billion in 2014 compared to $27 billion in 2010.

In comparison to other waste, organic waste (which includes discarded food) is one of the highest according to a study by Statistics Canada in 2012.

Though a large portion of food winds up in a landfill every day some Canadian households do not have access to enough food. An estimated eight per cent of Canadians live in food insecure households. Areas like Nunavut have higher rate, with 36 per cent of residents living with food insecurity. Despite this the daily and annual amount of food waste per person remains high.

While the majority of Canadian households participate in programs like recycling, when it comes to food a large portion ends up in a landfill. When this food decomposes it produces methane, which is one of the greenhouse gases associated with global warming. According to the Government of Canada, methane emissions from Canadian landfills account for 20 per cent of national methane emissions.

In 2013 Statistics Canada released data on composting nationwide and found that 4.4 million tonnes of compost was produced in 2008. The data shows that certain areas in particular parts of Quebec are behind in composting with less than 20 per cent of residents composting.

Factors like location and type of housing affect the rates of composting. Apartment buildings in particular have a low rate of composting do the nature of waste disposal. In the City of Ottawa only 15 per cent of buildings have a composting program according to the Ottawa Citizen.

In order to have composting implemented in apartments the city has to work one-on-one with each building and with a total of 1,300 buildings it becomes a time consuming project.

Ruth Ellen Brosseau, MP for New Democratic Party, first introduced the National Food Waste Awareness Day bill in 2014. While the bill was defeated she said in a press release that she will continue to fight to reduce food waste and food insecurity in Canada.


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