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Prevent food waste at your business

Metro Vancouver estimates 13,000 tonnes of healthy, edible food is thrown out in the region’s transfer stations each year.

Food rotting in the landfill creates methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. It is also wasteful in terms of the time, water and energy resources used to grow, process, package, and transport food.  

Minimizing the amount of food we throw out will help reduce methane at the landfill, save on costs to manage food waste, and potentially help people who are in need. 

Tips for food related businesses

To minimize food waste at your business:

  • Conduct a waste audit to understand the amount and source of waste being generated
  • Set a target for waste reduction and a plan to achieve the target
  • Implement standard operating procedures for staff
  • Improve storage and preparation practices
  • Collaborate with suppliers to revise procurement procedures and minimize overstocking
  • Encourage staff to reduce food waste through frequent updates
  • Develop a policy on waste reduction
  • Donate extra food to local food distribution organizations

Food donations

A survey done by Vancouver Coastal Health in 2014 shows almost 10% of Vancouverites have reported being food insecure. That means at some point in the year, they had difficulty accessing safe, healthy food.

Donating food to organizations that provide free or low-cost meals is a great way to help reduce food waste and provide short-term assistance to people in need.

Tips to make the most of your donation

Consider the following before you donate food.

Most organizations are looking for nutritious food items, such as vegetables and fruits, grains, meat, and dairy products. 

Food and beverages high in fat, sugar, or sodium, – soft drinks, energy drinks, pastries, and candies – are less healthy. Some organizations are unable to use or even accept these items. 

Often, organizations have to take on the costs of discarding unhealthy food items such as expired baby formula, damaged packaging, low nutrient snacks, and stale bread.

Please consult with the organization first on what types of food items they are seeking the most before donating.

Most organizations that accept food donations are non-profits operating on very limited budgets and resources to receive, sort, store, and use the donated food items. 

There is a certain cost associated with each step to use the donated food items.

Ways you can help are:

  • Deliver donations to organizations instead of asking them to pick up. Most organizations have very limited staff and resources.
  • Give as much advance notice as possible so the organization can plan ahead for receiving, storing, and using the food items.
  • Check to ensure the type of food you want to donate can be stored by the organization, particularly foods that require refrigeration or freezing. 

Organizations offering free or low-cost meals

Please contact organizations ahead of time to ensure your food donation can be used.