Quebecers waste too much
In Quebec, 1.2 million tons of edible food are lost every year.
The very first study on food waste across the province, conducted by Recyc-Québec, finally reveals precisely the extent of the phenomenon. Every year, from the fields to our plates, no less than 1.2 million tonnes of edible food are wasted. Losses that are not without consequences.
“This first study was done with the aim of understanding and quantifying food losses and waste in Quebec, not only in terms of tonnage, but also of GHG production,” explains Sophie Langlois-Blouin, vice-president of the performance of Recyc-Québec's operations.
In fact, to better tackle the problem, the government corporation wanted to paint the most complete portrait possible. And the report is not very encouraging.
The study establishes that 16% of the 7.5 million tons of food that enters the Quebec food supply system each year are lost while they are still edible. This represents 1.2 million tonnes, to which are added 1.9 million tonnes of inedible food residues, such as bones or peels for example.
“What we also see is that there are losses at all stages, adds Sophie Langlois-Blouin. We must therefore act at all scales, from production to consumption, including processing, distribution and retail.”
Excerpt from the final report of theQuantification study of food loss and waste in Quebec conducted by Recyc-Québec
A cost for the planet
Who says food thrown in the trash means wasted resources and also pollution. And in the province, Recyc-Québec has calculated that the 1.2 million tonnes of edible food lost generates 3.6 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year.
In this regard, “all foods are not equal,” however, emphasizes Sophie Langlois-Blouin. “What we waste the most are fruits and vegetables, but it's the meat that has the most impact in terms of GHG production,” she says.
Indeed, while meat accounts for only 13% of wasted edible food, it is responsible for 59% of GHG emissions attributed to food waste in Quebec.
ACPG: lost or wasted edible food, PNCA: associated inedible parts – Excerpt from the final report of theQuantification study of food losses and waste in Quebec conducted by Recyc-Québec
By supporting initiatives that fight against waste and by raising public awareness of this problem, Recyc-Québec hopes to see the amount of wasted food decrease over the next few years.
“We will continue and intensify our efforts because we know that this is an issue that has important consequences, explains Sophie Langlois-Blouin. There are already a lot of things being done, for example food is redirected to community organizations, composted, reused in animal feed or companies give it a second life.”
< p>A second version of the study which will make it possible to evaluate the effects of the actions implemented should be carried out within three to five years.