Organics in FocusOrganics in Focus<div class="ExternalClass4EA51266328342CEB634D8FE889BD515"><p>Organics is a primary focus of waste prevention efforts internationally and Canada is keeping pace, with significant effort going into diverting organics from landfill and preventing food waste and loss upstream. And the reasons for doing so are compelling. Internationally, researchers estimate close to half of all food produced worldwide is wasted<sup>1</sup>.</p><p>Metro Vancouver recently estimated that approximately 169,000 tonnes of edible industrial, commercial and institutional food is being disposed each year across Canada. This estimate used data from six jurisdictions including Metro Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary, Halifax, Red Deer, and Winnipeg as a baseline. Removing this amount of edible food from the waste stream could prevent the release of 199,041 tonnes of CO2 equivalents. Here is a quick round-up of exciting developments related to food waste and loss<sup>2</sup> in Canada. </p><p> <strong><em>Disposal Bans: </em></strong>Many Canadian cities and regions are leading efforts by banning organic waste from landfills, including Halifax, Victoria and Metro Vancouver – and offering many lessons learned for other communities aspiring to do likewise. For example, as Toronto expands organics collection to multi-family dwellings and businesses, the city is addressing odors and inconvenience concerns that can be a barrier to segregating organic waste from the garbage. Toronto has also established a collection system that can handle plastic bags and diapers<sup>3</sup>. Ottawa offers a free green bin service to schools including signage and curriculum-relevant resources, and Quebec City is piloting organic waste collection from industries, businesses, and institutions in addition to the established residential curbside collection. And Metro Vancouver is supporting its organics ban with a sophisticated public campaign <a href="" target="_blank">Love Food Hate Waste</a>, modeled on a UK initiative by the same name which has been effective in raising awareness and changing consumer and retailer behavior, while cutting food waste by 21% in five years.</p><p> <strong> <em>Tax Incentives:</em></strong> Tax incentives have been found to be effective in other parts of North America and Europe and the National Zero Waste Council is working on this issue here in Canada. In the United States for example, the expansion of those eligible for an enhanced tax deduction for in-kind giving (including food) has, each time, stimulated an increase in donations. France has one of the most developed network of food banks and charities and in 2012 they diverted 100,000 tonnes of food from disposal by applying one of Europe’s most generous tax incentives for food donation (60% of the value of the donation, including delivery and storage if applicable). France recently went one step further passing legislation in May 2015 to force all large supermarkets to donate unsold food to charities or farmers. This bold move is receiving significant international attention. The Council applauds France’s legislative move and is looking if a “made-in-Canada” may be appropriate. </p><p>The National Zero Waste Council Food Working Group, is working with partners such as Food Banks Canada to develop a tax incentive for food donation that has the potential to deliver economic, social and environmental benefits and recently commissioned the Conference Board of Canada to undertake a business case review of fiscal and other incentives to encourage businesses to divert and donate surplus, edible food, and ultimately support communities in need. As Allen Lynch, National Zero Waste Council Board member, Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) representative, and co-lead of the NZWC Food Working Group explains, <em>"Financial rewards are a potentially powerful means of incenting businesses to donate food to community charitable organizations. They may induce businesses that do not currently donate to start, and those that already do to enhance their efforts." </em></p><p> <strong> <em>Communication Campaigns:</em></strong> To successfully tackle food waste, policy and support provided to businesses needs to be complimented by consumer support that facilitates behaviour change. We know that a significant portion of avoidable food waste is unfit for donation and comes from households. Over-purchasing, incorrect storage, confusion around best before dates and not using food on time are some of the issues that need to be addressed. The National Zero Waste Council is exploring the possibility of launching a national version of the <a href="" target="_blank">Love Food Hate Waste</a> communication campaign recently launched by Metro Vancouver. Internationally, the <a href="" target="_blank"> Think.Eat.Save</a> campaign of the <a href="" target="_blank"> SAVE FOOD Initiative</a> is helping to galvanize widespread global, regional and national actions on food waste and loss. And much like the <a href="" target="_blank">Inglorious Fruits & Vegetables</a> campaign by French grocer Intermarché, Canada's own Loblaw Company Limited launched its <a href="" target="_blank">no name® Naturally Imperfect<em>™</em></a> line of fruits and vegetables in March, with the goal of ensuring farmers have a market for smaller, misshapen fruit that would otherwise go to waste.</p><p>The National Zero Waste Council continues to work at the industry and national level in the development of pan-Canadian solutions. In June 2015, as part of a national roundtable on waste prevention, leaders from business and government will discuss what more can be done nationally to reduce food waste and loss in Canada. </p><p> <strong>Want to learn more?</strong> Check out the resources section of the National Zero Waste Council website. </p><p> </p><h6> <sup>1</sup> David Suzuki Foundation, Help End Food Waste, <a href="" target="_blank"></a> </h6><h6> <sup>2</sup> Food waste and loss are defined differently.  See definitions from the World Resources Institute <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>. </h6><h6> <sup>3</sup> The plastic and organic portions of the waste stream are separated at the composting facility.</h6></div>|#c2591d37-d237-45d0-98c3-e84ee55e5dad;L0|#0c2591d37-d237-45d0-98c3-e84ee55e5dad|June 2015;GTSet|#78f153b4-3e08-4266-8725-bd656ec40488<div class="ExternalClass6B82F8A980204DDB95DF3CE17521AA0F"><p>​Canada keeping pace with international efforts to tackle food waste and loss.</p></div>