The War on Waste

by Linda Leigh
Categories: Feature, Mobile
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We live in a throw-away society. In Canada, Gooch et al. (2010) estimated that $27 billion of food is wasted each year, and 50% of that waste originates from households.

None of us likes to waste food, but if we’re honest, we do.

The issue of food waste has captured the attention of businesses, governments, environmental and social welfare organizations, the media and consumers. Stated in very simple terms, food waste is the loss of food along the value chain that is suitable for human consumption.

According to the 2011 UN report, a third of all potatoes bought by North American consumers are thrown out or wasted at home. The same fate awaits a quarter of all fruits and vegetables and 15 percent of all dairy purchases.

Waste occurs along the entire food chain, from farmers and manufacturers down to supermarkets, restaurants and consumers.

What’s troubling many about the massive volumes of food is it could be used to help those who don’t have enough. This food is of good quality and can be turned into nutritious, meals for the vulnerable in our society.

Sadly a lot of the good garbage is snatched up by transients looking for food to eat.

Vending Machine on College Campus Brings Real Life Context to Hunger
In December 2012, The Salvation Army partnered with GREY Canada, its advertising agency, to raise awareness that many Canadians go hungry and are reduced to eating waste. A one-of-a-kind vending machine was stocked with synthetic food waste at Toronto’s Centennial College.

“While most vending machines are filled with tempting treats like chips, candy and chocolate bars, this machine houses synthetic waste, including moldy foods, rotting fruit and half-eaten snacks, to disrupt everyday notions of choice and availability,” said Stephanie Nerlich, President, GREY Canada. “The vending machine reminds passersby that although no one chooses to eat garbage, it’s an everyday reality for many Canadians.”

How You Can Help
Whenever possible, reduce the volume of waste and donate to a Salvation Army food bank. Or you can donate online. In any case, your donation will help The Salvation Army helps provide healthy meals to those who need it most.