Prevent Food Waste

Preventing food waste takes action at the highest level of the 5R pollution prevention hierarchy. Actions at the highest level, reduction, can have a far more significant impact.

For example, when food is wasted, both food and money are lost. Also, energy, water and other resources that have been used to produce the food are wasted. Globally, one third of the food produced for human consumption is wasted (Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, 2013). Canadians contribute to this waste, in fact it’s estimated that the amount of food wasted in Canada is $31 billion annually (Value Chain Management International Inc., 2014).

B.C. local government waste composition studies also demonstrates that food waste occurs here too:

Prevent Residential Food Waste

Uneaten leftovers and spoiled food make up over 25% of the waste discarded from a household. The Ministry produced a Residential Food Waste Prevention toolkit (PDF, 7.4 MB) as a resource that helps local governments or non-governmental organizations address avoidable food waste from households. It describes different program models and their components, and provides guidance for identifying suitable approaches, based on a community’s size, capacity, and priorities.

Prevent Businesses Food Waste

Businesses in the Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional (ICI) sector generates a substantial amount of wasted food and packaging. Decreasing the amount of food waste and packaging could reduce waste disposal costs and protect the environment. The Ministry produced toolkits to assist retail, such as supermarkets and convenience stores, and foodservice providers, such as restaurants and drinking establishments, to help operators prevent food waste. This page also provides options for Food Donations.


Support global and regional food waste reduction initiatives.

Learn more about Food Waste in Canada

Educate residents to make purchasing decisions that prevent food waste.

Encourage citizen-led food waste reduction initiatives.

Provide information for citizens in multiple languages.