Food Waste Fact Sheet presented by Helene St. Jacques to the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee March 19, 2013


FOOD WASTE FACT SHEET – March 19, 2013


  •       In 2011, over 390,000 tonnes of residential waste was diverted from landfill, including 100,663 tonnes of green bin source separated organics.  Long Term Waste Management Strategy, City of Toronto, Staff Report, March 2013.
  •       The cost of collecting garbage, recycling and organics is $109 per tonne.  The cost of disposing garbage and household green bin organics  is $72 and $144 per tonne, respectively.   Thus the combined cost of collecting and disposing of green bin organics is $253 per tonne.  City of Toronto, Solid Waste Management Services
  •       An estimated $27 billion in Canadian food annually finds its way to landfill and composting….this equates to approximately 40% of all the food we produce and 2% of Canada’s GDP. …nearly 40% of all food produced in Canada is wasted….the single biggest contributors to waste are consumers. More than 50% of the $27B in food waste originates from food thrown away in Canadian homes.  Studies in the UK concluded that the vast majority of consumer food waste could be avoided, and that, while approximately one-fifth of food thrown away includes items such as peelings, cores and bones, the rest was once perfectly edible.  Food Waste in Canada, November 2010, Value Chain Management Centre, and reference to WRAP UK reports available at
  •       Food Waste – Preliminary Findings, Residential Food Waste Numbers, 2013 – As part of a waste audit conducted in a medium sized Ontario municipality, an assessment of the quantity and type of food waste generated was undertaken….the total average food waste generated per household per day during the collection period was 500 grams…extrapolated over a year this represents 182. Kg of food discarded per household per year. Michael von Massow and Ralph C. Martin University of Guelph
  •       Households in Canada spend $140/week on food.  If we assume 20% of food wasted in households, then the ocst of tossing $28 per week.  Ralph C. Martin, PH.D., P.Ag. Loblaw Chair, Sustainable Food Production, University of Guelph.  Email:
  •       As part of our Annual Report, the ECO often identifies issues that may be escaping broader public attention, but have the potential for significant environmental impacts….This year, the ECO has chose to focus…the issue of food waste….food that is thrown out while it is still edible… Environmental Commissioner of Ontario,  Losing Our Touch, 2011/12, Chapter 7.0 Emerging Issues, available at