Food waste prevention for businesses

In B.C. private businesses and local governments have programs, such as curbside food scrap collection services that pick-up food waste. Many local governments have also banned food scraps from the disposal, however, B.C. local government waste composition studies show that food waste is still ending up in our landfills where it releases harmful greenhouse gases.

When food is wasted, both food and money are lost. In addition, all of the energy, water and other resources that have been used to produce the food are also wasted. It’s estimated that the total amount of food wasted in Canada is worth at least $31 billion annually (Value Chain Management International Inc., 2014). Citizens and businesses have the opportunity to save money by preventing food waste.

Food waste prevention toolkits

Retail food stores and food service in B.C. lose an estimated $1.3 billion worth of food per year, 57% more than the estimated profit in those sectors. That’s value that is not realized by anyone, but which taxes our communities socially, economically and environmentally. Simple operational controls can help operators prevent waste and increase profit. The Ministry produced toolkits to assist retail, such as supermarkets and convenience stores, and food service providers, such as restaurants and other venues and establishments prevent food waste.

Resources for reducing food waste

Food donation

Surplus food can occur along the food supply chain before it reaches the consumer, for example businesses that may have excess product or have a product that is safe yet cannot be sold. If prevention is not possible, the next best solution is reuse (see the 5R pollution prevention hierarchy).

Establishing food donation and food recovery programs to redistribute excess food is important. It can help more families’ access safe, nutritious food.

If your business has surplus, nutritious food, the next step is to find a donation program that matches the types of food available, ensuring that the donation meets the needs of a recipient and fits the capacity and operations of both your business and the recipient.

Learn more about food donation in B.C. and opportunities available to redistribute food.