Reducing Food Waste in Canada’s Restaurant Industry

April 10, 2023

2 minutes, 36 seconds read

Reducing Food Waste in Canada’s Restaurant Industry

Restaurants across Canada generate a significant amount of food waste each year. In 2019, the Recycling Council of Ontario reported that restaurants in Ontario alone generated 220,000 tonnes of food waste annually. According to a report by The Globe and Mail, Restaurants Canada, and Feed Ontario, hotels, institutions, and restaurants contribute to 9% of food waste in Canada. 

This waste not only represents a financial loss for the restaurant industry, but it also has negative environmental impacts, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and putting a strain on landfill capacity.

But Ontario is not alone in generating significant amounts of food waste. According to the same report, British Columbia, Alberta, and Quebec also generate over 100,000 tonnes of food waste annually from restaurants.

What can be done to reduce food waste in the restaurant industry? 

One solution is to implement best practices for reducing waste, such as using portion control, reducing overproduction, and properly storing and managing inventory. Another solution is to invest in technology, such as biodigesters, that can convert food waste into compost or water that can be discharged down sewage systems, diverting it from landfills and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

It’s important to note that the amount of food waste generated by restaurants varies by province, and is often related to the number of restaurants in each province. For example, Ontario has over 66,000 restaurants, while Prince Edward Island has only 450. As a result, implementing food waste reduction strategies may differ depending on the location and size of a restaurant.

Are restaurants the only problem?

The Canadian government has been implementing various measures to combat food waste in recent years. One such initiative is the Food Policy for Canada, which aims to reduce food waste by 50% by 2030. The government has also invested in programs such as the Surplus Food Rescue Program, which helps redirect unsold or excess food from grocery stores and restaurants to community organizations in need. Additionally, Canada’s first national food waste reduction strategy was launched in 2020, which includes setting targets for reducing food waste and developing a tracking system to monitor progress. The government is also working with stakeholders in the food industry to encourage innovation and improve practices to reduce food waste throughout the supply chain.

As the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change of Canada, stated, “Reducing food waste is one of the simplest and most effective things we can do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build a cleaner, more sustainable future.” 

The Canadian Department of National Defense has sought to meet their food reduction initiatives by implementing LFC biodigesters across more than a dozen military bases.

By taking action to reduce food waste in the restaurant industry, we can help protect the environment and work towards a more sustainable world. In Canada, almost 2.2 million tonnes of edible food is wasted each year.

Overall, reducing food waste in the restaurant industry is an important step towards creating a more sustainable and environmentally friendly food system in Canada. By implementing best practices and investing in innovative technologies, the restaurant industry can help reduce their environmental impact while also saving money on waste management costs.