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Food Waste Challenge

Week One – “Weighin’ In”

“Hey Canada! 63% of household food waste is AVOIDABLE”

LFHW Canada

Welcome to Week One of the Just Eat It, Caledon! Food Waste Challenge! We are excited to have you join us as we embark on this online challenge to learn about food waste and how it affects the well-being of the Earth – and our wallets! This challenge aims to make it as easy and as fun as possible to make small but impactful changes in our daily habits that will not only save us money but will help mitigate climate change.

Are you and your family ready to take a BITE out of FOOD WASTE? Then let’s get started!
Before we begin to reduce food waste in our homes, it’s important to understand how much is created in the first place. We need to become familiar with the two types of food waste:

UNAVOIDABLE FOOD WASTE: is food that can’t generally be sold or eaten, such as bones, vegetable peelings, egg shells, tea bags and coffee grounds – LFHW Canada

AVOIDABLE FOOD WASTE: is food that could have been eaten. It is food that is thrown away because it spoils or because we made too much of it. It ends up in the compost or garbage bin – LFHW Canada

We can do a lot to help the planet by generating less avoidable food waste. The Just Eat It, Caledon! Food Waste Challenge will show you simple ways to do this. But for this first week, we are going to spend some time learning about exactly how much avoidable food waste we create.

Week One – Challenge Activity:

This week you are going to complete an audit of your own avoidable food waste and determine what that quantity amounts to in terms of dollars lost. This challenge begins today and continues until Sunday.

Food for Thought! Throughout the week we would love it if you would leave your feedback in our community feed or comment on our social media accounts by January 24th.

How does the Challenge Work?

Why an AUDIT? It’s not tax time yet! Relax, this is a food waste audit. An audit will give you a good picture of exactly how much avoidable food waste you are accumulating – and what it’s costing you. This important information will help you measure your progress as you go through our five week challenge. Can you succeed in lowering your food waste using the tips and tricks you will learn? You absolutely can!

Starting today, Monday January 18th, use the Greenlid bin provided in your Waste Reduction Challenge Kit to begin collecting any avoidable food waste. You may choose to line your bin with a few sheets of newspaper or use a compost bag, or just put the food directly in the bin. Keep in mind that you may have to empty it and refill it during the week.

When the bin is full, or on Sunday, whichever comes first, use a scale to weigh the contents of your bin. You do not have to empty the bin – just weigh the contents and bin together. Once you have the weight of the bin (in pounds), record the amount on your “Food Waste Audit” handout and multiply the weight by $3.60* to arrive at the estimated cost of that avoidable food waste.

Continue to fill and weigh your bin throughout the week until this challenge ends on Sunday January 24th. Tally the total cost of your avoidable food waste for the week. If you don’t have access to a scale, simply count and record the number of bags of avoidable food waste your household generates this week.

Your goal for the remainder of the Just Eat It, Caledon! Food Waste Challenge will be to try to reduce the amount of avoidable food waste you are creating in your home. We’ve got the strategies to help you do this, so stick with us and we’ll take a BITE out of FOOD WASTE together!

*The amount of $3.60 is the result of dividing $1,100 (the annual cost of avoidable food waste per household) by 308 pounds (or 140 kg) of wasted food per year by household.

Community Champion:

Mayor Allan Thompson

Food Ambassador:

Kim D’Eri – The Exchange

Week One – Reflection Questions:

Open reflection form

Food for Thought - Community Feed

  1. I see a commonality. I also cook in large batches. I save the large yogurt containers, and freeze soups for a later date. It saves you eating the same foods day after day and also on a rush night, you always have food at your fingertips. Cooking in large batches saves time. My philosophy is the oven doesn’t know if you are baking one banana cake/bread or 6. It saves money on hydro and also your time/waste when baking.

    When you see a bad fruit, cut it up. Most often you can salvage some of it.

  2. We finish week 1 with two oranges in the bin – sounds funny, but I have to admit that fruits are definitely an area where we have to improve. So our meal planning will also take a look at our fruit-eating habits. 🙂

    • Hi Solveig
      I swear, there is always at least one bad clementine in every bag (box). Sometimes as soon as you get it home from the store. We joke that they’re hidden in amongst the others. I guess that’s a price we pay for buying fruit that has travelled great distances and not always being able to buy them individually. Often happens with other, off-season packaged fruit

  3. My biggest culprit for avoidable food waste this week was home made dog treats. Still trying to get the portions right because they only last for about a week before going moldy.

  4. I was so proud of our avoidable food waste this week – until I noticed my 23 year old had dumped sandwich crusts (yes, he is 23 and STILL won’t eat crusts!) in the unavoidable waste bin. I fished them out! Then someone (who shall remain nameless) left an entire bottle of salad dressing (the creamy kind) out on the counter all night! I had to convince the culprit that no, he couldn’t just use it up anyway! 🙂 For food safety reasons, it became part of our avoidable food waste too. The third addition is my fault – a few tablespoons of homemade hummus that I forgot was in my deli drawer. I don’t think we faired too badly, but there is definitely room for improvement when we weigh in again in week 5!

    • When I cut off crusts for my grandkids I cut before making the sandwhich (mayo, butter) and add to my brown bag of leftover breads, buns. I let dry and make my own breadcrumbs. You care sure you are only getting breadcrumbs. Then I season them with pesto (also in food processor, blends well) and freeze. You can also freeze plain.

  5. I’m enjoying the challenge… I was thinking until this morning that my avoidable collection was nice and small until I looked into the bag of grapes on the counter! Ug – furry little patches on so many of them…. I sorted as best I could to salvage the 50% that were decent and edible. The rest went in my bucket! I definitely need to learn how to store grapes better!

    • Yes, grapes are an issue in this household too. I try to buy a small bunch, place in a fruit bowl covered within a zippy bag. I pop them in the fridge overnight, and we snack on them during the day…. lasting much longer!

    • Hi ya,
      Just started, and running late. Checked my compost bin (and my memory). Only item to put into avoidable is the tops from the huge leeks I purchased. I am sure they could have gone into a soup….. but with only two of us, we will have many items made with leeks as it is!

      You know the big sales that come with the broccoli? I just made a cream of broccoli soup, popped in four tops for show after the soup was zizzed! These are the ideas I am seeking….

      Off to watch the video recommended in the comment above.

      • Hi Alison, I completely understand. There are only so many nights in a row I can eat the same ingredient, no matter how many different ways I can use it 🙂 This is when the freezer comes in handy!

        • I use the large yogurt or ice cream containers to freeze my liquids or sauces. Depending on household size you can use smaller containers or ice cubes

        • If you are not using carrot tops, celery, leek tops etc. I throw into a bag in the freezer and use when I’m making soup or sauces.

  6. We at Gratitude For Food would love to know where you like to shop for food. What’s your favourite place to buy groceries? Please share in the comments!

  7. We are having a great time in our house starting this challenge. The kids are keen to learn about food waste, and figure out why we have two green bins. There is a little competition happening to work on lessening our food waste in our house! Its been great to have something to learn and focus on during this time

    • So glad to hear your kids are getting into the challenge! Are they able to distinguish between avoidable and unavoidable food waste?

  8. Time to check in with our local food bank…the Exchange!

    If any of you are like us, you donate to the Exchange through school food drives, or visits with your child’s sports team, Guide or Cub troop…or, some of you may volunteer throughout the year. When Covid put a temporary stop to those experiences, it became time to find other ways to support our community.

    Throughout the pandemic, the Exchange has allowed for food donations to be left in a red bin at the back door (Monday through Friday 10:00 – 4:00 p.m.). Due to the current Provincial State of Emergency Order, the Exchange cannot accept food donations at this time. If you’d like to support the Exchange they are still accepting online monetary donations at

  9. We’re very excited about participating in the challenge. We try our best to avoid waste but could definitely do a better job. Looking forward to becoming more aware of our habits and learning how to improve. I see more soups & stir fries in our future to clean out the fridge!

  10. Just watched a few of Chef Bob Blumer’s video’s on “Love Food, Hate Waste” – such simple recipes. More inspired to cook from scratch and use up aging vegetables and all those leafy tops.

    • Yes, “Love Food, Hate Waste” has so many great resources and recipes. It’s true that wilty veggies – things we normally would discard – can so easily become part of a soup, stew or stir fry. My family has no idea they’re there! 🙂

  11. Gratitude for Food was founded in the fall of 2018 by a small but enthusiastic group of Caledon residents with a passion for food and a concern for the global problem of food waste.

    As ecoCaledon members we wanted to start a project to inspire change. Since food is a daily part of our lives, it is a valuable issue and should be a priority for everyone. Reducing food waste is a climate change solution that literally everyone can get behind. After a rapid fire brainstorming session to come up with a name, Gratitude for Food was born! We are forever grateful to our dear friend, Susan Richards, who suggested this name. Susan has since passed away but we will always remember her for her thoughtful contributions to this cause.

    Please follow us on Instagram @gratitude4food_caledon and/or Twitter @Gratitude4foodC

  12. Hi everyone! Have you filled out your pre-challenge survey yet? 🙂 You can find a link to it in the home page of the challenge in the resources section. So excited to get started!

  13. This challenge is exactly what we need and now is the perfect time to concentrate on reducing our waste. While we’re all sheltering at home, there are no more excuses about not having the time to change habits. If you’re like me, you’re trying to cut down trips to the grocery store, and that of course means avoiding waste. So no more excuses, let’s do this!

    • Love the energy Deborah! I think a lot of us are feeling the same way. We are home, cooking more, and trying to avoid multiple trips to the store 🙂


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