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Kitchen diaries research

Understanding preventable food waste in Calgary

Looking inside our household garbage, we’ll find over 1/3 of it is food waste. That means households are throwing out 115,000 tonnes of food into our landfills every year. We know that some food, like egg shells, banana peels and bones can’t be eaten, but how much edible food is being thrown away that could have been prevented in the first place?

When we throw away edible food, all the resources to grow, ship and produce it are wasted too, including massive volumes of water. Once it get buried in the landfill food waste does not breakdown into soil in the landfill. Instead it produces methane, a greenhouse gas that is 25 times stronger than carbon dioxide.

This year, The City is completing a study to better understand the causes of preventable food waste in Calgary homes. A representative sample of citizens will complete household kitchen diaries. The research findings will help identify key actions we can take to reduce food waste that will make a real difference in supporting The City’s goal to increase waste diversion and lead the community towards zero waste.

Kitchen Diaries measure what we throw away at home

The Kitchen Diaries Research takes a closer look at our household habits. For two weeks, a sample of Calgarians will be invited to log all the times food was thrown out at home and explain why it was discarded. They’ll record details like:

  • How much was thrown out and by whom?
  • Was it preventable and why wasn’t it eaten?
  • How was it disposed (e.g. garbage, in-sink disposal unit, backyard composter, green cart, etc).

How can I learn more?

If you’re interested in learning more about this research, please contact Mustel Group or call 1-866-274-8834.

Isn’t composting the right thing to do?

Yes. If food can’t be eaten, putting it in your green cart or backyard composter is the best way to avoid taking up valuable landfill space and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but preventing food waste is still better.

What about looking at preventing food waste in restaurants and grocery stores?

Yes, examining the residential side is only part of the story. The City of Calgary is exploring opportunities to support businesses and organizations in preventing food waste too. If you are a business owner and are interested in learning more, please contact 311.