Family life

6 easy ways to reduce your family's food waste

We pat ourselves on the back each week for filling up the green bin, but that's still putting food in the trash. Here's how your family can use more and throw out less.

6 easy ways to reduce your family's food waste

Photo: Courtesy of istock

The average Canadian household wastes 140 kilograms of food each year—roughly $1,100 worth. But unlike many other environmental issues, controlling how much food we throw out is completely within our control.

Bob Blumer, Food Network host and ambassador for both Love Food, Hate Waste and Second Harvest, shares tips for reducing household waste.

1. Plan ahead

Plan your weekly shopping list together as a family and make every family member responsible for using the items they put on the list.

2. Portion control

Use smaller plates and serve smaller portions (with seconds available on request).

3. Use those scraps


Stop patting yourself on the back for throwing scraps into the green bin and start finding creative ways to cook with them instead. Tip: make this yummy frittata!

4. Skip the deals

Don’t be tempted by great deals that come in oversized packages at the grocery store unless you are confident your family will consume all of it. 

5. Check your fridge temperature

Keep your fridge at 37F. This extends the life of everything you bring home from the grocery store and the farmers’ market and extends the life of all the stray bits you might have been tempted to toss, like the tops of fennel fronds and beet greens.


6. Rescue these foods!

Bananas often find themselves in the bin after they've turned too brown and mushy to consume. Freeze them in their peel or store them peeled in a resealable bag for use in banana bread or smoothies. Instead of tossing bruised apples, turn them into apple sauce using this super simple recipe. Wilting herbs like cilantro, dill or parsley can be thrown into your frittata, or add them to soups, stocks, salads, salsas, marinades, pesto, rubs and more. Tomatoes going soft? Make tomato sauce for pasta or pizza and freeze.

You may have also noticed that the market has been "greenified" with gear that helps make reducing waste easier. Here are some of our favourite products.

white and gold sodastream machine Photo: Courtesy of SodaStream


Stop buying fizzy drinks! This machine lets you make your own, which will save you money, reduce plastic bottle or can waste and control the amount of sugary syrup kids are consuming. SodaStream FIZZI, $99,


black stainless steel fridge with doors open Photo: Courtesy of Bosch

Bosch Fresh by Design

This new line of refrigerators uses a FarmFresh System technology that balances temperature and humidity levels, filters out naturally occurring ethylene gas to slow ripening in produce, and evenly circulates cool, fresh air so the food inside your fridge lasts longer. 800 Series French Door Bottom MountBlack stainless steel, from $4,679,

brown Nespresso coffee capsule Photo: Courtesy of Nespresso


These pods are 100 percent recyclable, and the aluminum can be up-cycled into new products like the Vélosophy RE:CYCLE bike. Nespresso Vertuo coffee capsules, from $1 per capsule,

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