One of the topics that come up often when discussing ways to reduce waste, both in your own home and throughout the supply chain is reducing food waste. According to the Value Chain Management Center the dollar value of food waste in Canada in 2014 was 31 billion dollars, up 15 % since 2010. Three major Canadian grocery stores chains Loblaws, Metro and Sobeys have just announced an initiative to reduce food waste produced in their Quebec stores. By pairing with local foodbanks, the food that would usually end up in the grocery store’s dumpsters will now be feeding families in need. This initiative, which when it is fully in place is also expected to divert 8 million kilos of food waste from landfill each year!
Through the Programme de récupération en supermarché is the first of its kind in Canada. A pilot project which occurred in 2013, partnering with Moisson Montréal, the central foodbank of Montreal was able to divert 2.5 million kilos of food waste in one year from 177 participating grocery stores. This time around, there will be 611 participating grocery stores which will be integrated into the program over the next three years. The initiative supported by Recyc-Québec is being extended to stores across the province of Quebec and will be able to provide the increasing number of Quebec family’s dependant on foodbanks with healthy food. This will also ease pressure on foodbanks budgets and allow them to concentrate on the important work they do in our communities.
This contribution from our major grocery store chains highlights the importance of fighting to reduce waste throughout supply chains. A municipal composting program is coming online neighbourhood by neighbourhood in Montreal through 2017 and 2018. The accountability in its efforts to reduce food waste that this program adds at the store level will reinforce the value of making efforts in our own kitchens through this composting program (and vice versa). Hopefully, these complimentary programs will add to the growing momentum efforts to reduce our waste and carbon footprint have gained in the last few years.
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