Here are three quick facts about food waste in Ontario:
1. According to the Environment and Climate Change Canada, 58% of Canada’s food is wasted. This is 35.5 million tonnes of wasted food! However, up to ⅓ of it can be rescued and redistributed as healthy meals.
2. Over 60% of Ontario’s food waste is sent to landfills
3. Ontarians alone generated nearly 3.6 million tonnes of food waste in 2019, or a little over 10% of all the food wasted in Canada.
Decomposing food in landfills releases a gas called methane, which is 28 times more potent than its more famous cousin, carbon dioxide. Methane is much more effective at trapping heat within the atmosphere, and we must be very mindful of it.
But wait—didn’t we just say that about ⅓ of the food can be rescued? Yes, we did—and we are doing our part in this at 5n2.
5n2 relies on food rescue from local partners and cafes as a basis of what we serve to the community. We set out every week to grocery stores to pick up still safe to consume meats and produce. We then pass this food onto our kitchen staff to prepare nourishing meals, to our pantry program to redistribute to those who could not afford these foods at a premium, and to our food delivery programs for our clients who are at risk and cannot pick up the groceries for themselves. Our operations redirect 3500 meals every week from going to the landfills to communities who are food insecure, which translates to about 18 thousand meals per year. While this may not stop the acceleration of climate change, it is a significant impact to our local communities. Food rescue is not 5n2’s only sustainable effort either —we also compost and recycle nearly everything and we have a gardening program to cultivate an appreciation for our produce from seed to harvest.
While feeding the community, our food rescue initiative saves methane from cooking our planet. Greenhouse gases know no borders, and 5n2’s food rescue is a part of a global effort to sustain our planet for generations to come.