The Facts on Food Waste


Roughly one third of food produced globally is lost or wasted.

In Canada alone, $31 billion dollars worth of food is wasted every year.  

Here in our province, we each produce an average of 4.5 pounds of waste per day, which accumulates to a whopping 400,000 tonnes of waste total each year.

As much as 30% of this waste is organic waste. Organic waste has a very damaging effect on our environment.

Luckily, much of this organic waste can be diverted from our landfills. This makes reducing food waste a relatively easy way to help address environmental issues like climate change.

Food Waste Has a Serious Environmental Impact

Many environmental issues — from deforestation to the depletion of fish stocks worldwide — are tied to food production for human consumption. So what a shame that 1/3rd of this food is going to waste!

Food waste is also a major generator of greenhouse gases on our planet, and therefore a significant cause of climate change.

North America’s food waste alone generates 193 million tons of greenhouse gas each year.


When organic waste — like banana peels or coffee grinds — gets buried under other garbage in a landfill, it breaks down very slowly, in the absence of oxygen, releasing methane gas.

Methane is a greenhouse gas that has 21 times the global warming potential as carbon dioxide.

When greenhouse gases like methane, carbon dioxide, and nitrous oxide gas are released into the atmosphere, they hang around like a cloud that blocks heat from escaping the earth. This forces global warming, which leads to climate change on our planet.

Food First NL has created some resources that can help you spend less on groceries and divert food waste from landfills. Find them below!

Where Is Food Wasted?

While often used interchangeably, food loss and food waste actually occur at different stages of the food chain.  

Food loss occurs earlier in the food system, and is caused by inefficiencies in food production and processing. It includes food that needs to be discarded before ever reaching the consumer.

Food waste occurs at the end of the food system. It includes the excess of food and leftovers that end up in the garbage in our homes, restaurants, hospitality industry, etc.

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Understanding when food loss or waste occurs is key to making change and building more sustainable food systems.


Download Food First NL’s Wasteless Resources
& Read More About What 1 person Can Do.

Our grocery list and meal planner help to ensure you’re only buying as much food as you need, which saves on food waste and grocery bills. Buying food in season, with the assistance of our seasonality chart, ensures you’re buying fresh food with a longer shelf life (and lower carbon footprint). Our freezer inventory helps you store food long after you would have had to throw it out.