The Calgary Food Bank works hard to ensure that all viable food is salvaged through a Reverse Logistics Program. This is a reliable resource to limit food wastage. Working with 292 vendors, transportation companies, retailers, wholesalers and producers, we are able to divert over 13 million pounds of food from the landfill and distribute this food through our emergency hamper program, and with our Food Link agency partners and other food banks throughout the region. As the number of clients has been projected to increase this year to over 170,000, we want to ensure that all sustainable foods can be rescued and distributed accordingly.
Many wholesale, producer and retail companies have strict guidelines implemented to ensure the quality of their products are consistent. If a bakery has a few loaves of bread that were in the oven one minute too long and the tops are darker than the rest of the batch, the store cannot sell them and therefore the product would have to be thrown out. The Calgary Food Bank acknowledges that the guidelines applied are important to those companies so we are more than happy to take the perfectly good loaves of bread and add them to our emergency hampers.
This also decreases the amount of good food ending up in the landfill. According to the Second Harvest Food Rescue organization based out of Toronto, over 8.2 million pounds of good, edible food is thrown out into the landfills adding a negative environmental impact of increased greenhouse gases. Consumers can contribute to successful Reverse Logistic Programs by following the lead of conscious food industry companies. According to a 2014 report, $14.6 billion worth of food wasted is from consumers and ends up in the landfills.
To limit your footprint and to decrease food wasted in your household, below are tips from the US Environmental Protection Agency that may help! Click here to check out food dating and refrigerator storage tips!
- Buy only what you need and will use. Buying in bulk only saves money if you are able to use the food before it spoils.
- Look in your refrigerator and cupboards first to avoid buying food you already have, make a list each week of what needs to be used up and plan upcoming meals around it.
- Plan your meals for the week before you go shopping and buy only the things needed for those meals.
- Find out how to store fruits and vegetables so they stay fresh longer inside or outside your refrigerator.
- Freeze, preserve, or can surplus fruits and vegetables – especially abundant seasonal produce.
- Many fruits give off natural gases as they ripen, making other nearby produce spoil faster. Store bananas, apples, and tomatoes by themselves, and store fruits and vegetables in different bins.
- Wait to wash berries until you want to eat them to prevent mold.
- When you get home from the store, take the time to wash, dry, chop, dice, slice, and place your fresh food items in clear storage containers for snacks and easy cooking.
- Befriend your freezer and visit it often. For example,
- Freeze food such as bread, sliced fruit, or meat that you know you won’t be able to eat in time.
- Cut your time in the kitchen by preparing and freezing meals ahead of time.
- Prepare and cook perishable items, then freeze them for use throughout the month.
- Shop in your refrigerator first! Cook or eat what you already have at home before buying more.
- Have produce that’s past its prime? It may still be fine for cooking. Think soups, casseroles, stir fries, sauces, baked goods, pancakes or smoothies.
- If safe and healthy, use the edible parts of food that you normally do not eat. For example, stale bread can be used to make croutons, beet tops can be sautéed for a delicious side dish, and vegetable scraps can be made into stock.