PREVENTING FOOD WASTE IN LANDFILLCategory: 2019, Climate, Current, Grant, Major Project
60 per cent of all food produced in Canada is lost and wasted annually. 32 per cent – equaling 11.2 million metric tonnes of lost food (the equivalent of the weight of almost 95 CN Towers) – is avoidable and is edible food that could be redirected to support people in our communities. Instead, the majority of it ends up in landfills where it emits methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
When less food gets wasted, lower levels of greenhouse gases are emitted, less fresh water is consumed, more people get fed, and businesses and people can use the savings to invest in other needs. The United Nations has set a target of halving food loss and waste by 2030, but if current trends continued, the amount ending up in landfills could rise to 2.1 billion tonnes annually. The amounts of waste and social, economic and environmental implications are very serious if we don’t change that trajectory. When we fight food loss and waste, we also fight hunger, poverty, and global warming.
Leftovers’ objective is to dramatically reduce the amount of food waste disposed of in landfills, the associated GHG while reducing the financial costs of managing food waste for local governments.
This past year, Leftovers Foundation experienced significant growth: they expanded operations to Edmonton, received charitable status, launched the Community Mobile Food Market, launched a mobile food rescue app, have countless requests from businesses to pick up surplus food and social agencies for food donations. Right now, Leftovers is unable to keep up with demand with the current systems they have in place. The funding from Alberta Ecotrust enables Leftovers to hire a consultant who can focus on bolstering their management systems, improve operations, and develop and implement the online food rescue platform.
Leftovers will bridge the gap that currently exists between food donors and recipients; they will provide businesses with an option to renew their excess food, through donation, in situations where it would otherwise go to waste. They also plan to launch innovative web and mobile platforms to make every step of the food renewal process as easy and streamlined as possible, which currently does not exist in Alberta. The project would build capacity for businesses to securely donate surplus food and to build capacity at local social services agencies through the development of innovative web-based and mobile platforms. The intention is to increase the number of donors who make food available for donation to agencies and the number of agencies to accept. This will involve onsite visits and hands-on training of the system. The community partners will also broaden their reach of the platform in partnership with Leftovers to include full provincial scope.