Challenge activity — Week 6

Complete the challenge with another food waste audit!

Introduction

Congratulations! You’ve made it to the final week of the  Just Eat It,Toronto! Food Waste Challenge. Over the last five weeks you’ve taken action to reduce your household food waste. It’s time to see how your new knowledge and skills have translated to a decrease in avoidable food waste

This week it’s time for a second audit. In the same way as in Week One, sort out all the food waste that was once edible. List or weigh what ends up in your green bin at the end of the week, resulting in an amount to compare between the beginning and end of the Challenge. 

In addition, we hope you’ve all read through and watched last week’s materials about the importance of soil within the context of food and food waste. To continue the thread on valuing our natural resources, this week we invite you to consider one of our planet’s most important and life-giving resources — water.

Challenge Ambassador

Ronnie Seagren

WaterDocs/Ecologos

Ronnie Seagren

Water is life

Our Planet’s Most Vital Natural Resource

When we talk about food waste, most people don’t think about the incredible amount of freshwater that goes into growing & producing our food, and which is therefore wasted when we throw out avoidable food waste. When we look at what we waste the most, fruits and vegetables, it’s important to be aware that they are predominately made up of over 85% water.

This graphic, from the United Nations Environment Assembly, showcases the amounts of water contained in each part of just one average hamburger. It also speaks to the resources that are saved when we embrace a more plant-based option.

As we’ve explored through this Challenge, individual action at the household level has the power to make a measurable difference. Check out these links to learn more about the human consumption of water as it relates to food.

The water content of a hamburger. Graphic by the UN Environment Assembly.
The water content of a typical hamburger. Graphic by the UN Environment Assembly.

The Challenge

Rationale

Doing a second audit will give you the opportunity to see if the new strategies and habits you’ve developed and practiced over the past five weeks have made a measurable difference in the amount of avoidable food waste in your household.

Objectives

  • Assess the amount of “avoidable” food waste that is generated in your household.
  • Compare your results with the first audit.
  • Calculate your savings based on the average cost of avoidable food waste.

Tips

Even if you can’t do another audit, take some time to reflect on which tips & strategies have been most helpful in reducing your food waste.

Instructions

  • Measure your food waste: whenever a food item is discarded, categorize it as “avoidable” or “unavoidable” .
  • If you plan to weigh your waste, separate the two categories of waste into individual bins (or bags).
  • At the end of the week, weigh the avoidable food waste and calculate the approximate amount of money lost. See below.
  • If you are not weighing your food, you can make a weekly list of your avoidable food waste, itemizing what was discarded with approximate volume (e.g. 1 cup cooked rice).

You can find additional instructions on how to do the audit on the Week 1 page.

How did you do?

Let us know in the Community Feed below!

Compare your audit results

Now is the time bring out that table from week 1 so you can measure your progress. Remember that each pound of avoidable food waste costs $3.60 on average. Find the difference between the two numbers and calculate how much you would save in an entire year. Just a half pound reduction in avoidable food waste could mean more than $250 in savings!

DateWeight (pounds)Cost (Number of lbs. x $3.60*)
Week 1E.g. 2 lbsE.g. $7.20
Week 6E.g. 1.5 lbsE.g. $5.40
Food waste table.

Challenge Ambassadors

Ronnie Seagren

This week, our ambassador is Ronnie Seagren, an editor and activist who has a long history in community development and education work. In 2018 she won a Volunteer Toronto Legacy award for her work with local environmental organizations, including more than 20 years with Ecologos / Water Docs, where she is a board member and part of the team responsible for the Water Docs Film Festival about all things water.

Check out www.waterdocs.ca and @waterdocsfilmfestival to learn more!

YouTube video

In conversation

Ronnie is interviewed by Erin Andrews, Founder & Executive Director of Impact Zero (impactzero.ca). You can also watch the video on Youtube and Instagram.

Resources

Take-aways from the Food Waste Challenge

  • Learning the basics – Not all food waste is created equal. Learn the difference between “Avoidable” & “Unavoidable” food waste, focus on pushing the boundaries of what’s still edible and compost the rest! 
  • Preparing for success – Pre-plan your meals, make shopping lists and buy only what you need. Rethink & reduce to save more and waste less!
  • Loving your leftovers – Creating strategies to use up leftovers, food that we once wanted to eat — so try a new recipe and view them as ingredients for your next meal! 
  • Busting myths – Understanding “Best Before”, and simple tools & tricks to keep your food fresher, longer! 
  • Practicing healthy habits – Don’t be afraid of “less-than-perfect” produce, and the basics of composting 101, both inside your home & out!

The Water We Eat

YouTube video

A short animated documentary about the vast amounts of water that is required to grow, process and transport the food on your table.

Water in Your Food

Five facts from watercalculator.org

Learn more about your water footprint and what you can do about it at watercalculator.org.

Reflection questions

Now that you’ve collected some experience through the past five weeks of putting new knowledge and tips into practice, it’s time to reflect. 

  1. What were the highlights of the challenge weeks? Did you experience any “A-ha” moments? 
  2. What are the favourite new habits that you will practice going forward? 
  3. Now that you’ve taken positive steps to further reduce your own waste, will you share your new knowledge with others?

Kids and families

Check out further resources on reducing food waste from the Commission for Environmental Cooperation at www.cec.org/flwy/

If you are interested in further family-friendly resources around the topic of food waste and reducing food waste, get in touch (contact form at the bottom).

Community Feed

A space for participants to share experiences, photos & questions about the Food Waste Challenge!

How to use the feed

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