Documentation:Open Case Studies/Political Science/Advocacy3

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Climate Change Action Plan

Reducing Food Waste


Why Is Food Waste A Problem?

  • The global volume of food wastage is estimated to be 1.6 billion tons, while the total wastage for the edible part of food is 1.3 billion tons. This means that the majority of food that is thrown away is safe to eat.
  • In Canada, only 69% of the food that is bought from supermarkets is consumed. This means that close to one-third of purchased food products are thrown out.[1]
  • $31 billion dollars worth of food is wasted each year in Canada alone[2]
  • 40% of all the food produced in Canada ends up in landfill[3]
  • Individuals and households are the primary contributors to food waste (47%)[4]

Environmental Impacts of Food Waste:

  • Each year, food waste is responsible for adding 3.3 billion tonnes of Carbon Dioxide into the atmosphere. This makes it the third biggest green-house gas emitter behind China and the USA[5]
  • In addition to carbon dioxide, food waste produces a significant amount of methane- a more powerful type of greenhouse gas
  • Food that has been produced but does not end up being consumed occupies 30% of the world's total agricultural land area[6]
  • Food waste compounds the negative externalities that mono-cropping and agriculture expansion into wild areas create on biodiversity loss
  • Food production, transportation and storage is also extremely energy intensive and taxing on natural resources
  • Food waste also contributes to water waste- A volume of water roughly three times the volume of Lake Geneva is used just to produce food that is not eat


Action Plan

In order to combat food waste at an individual level, there are a number of steps that can be taken. Civil society groups, environmentalists and NGOs must work together to address the issue and promote more sustainable consumption practices (such as planning meals before buying groceries, Consumers should also use their power to demand that big supermarkets change their practices in order to reduce waste. This includes removing extremely high fruit and vegetable aesthetic standards, discounting food that is close to spoiling and educating consumers on

  • Ask individuals to demand a greater range of fruits and vegetables in their supermarkets- petition supermarkets to introduce a new range of 'odd bunch' products at a discounted rate
  • Organise petitions to the government asking for more regulations to be put in place for supermarkets- Demand that supermarkets buy all the produce from the farmers where they source their products from, not just the ones that fit certain aesthetic standards
  • Create posters to be put up in supermarkets that educate consumers on the difference between 'best before' and expiry dates
  • Promote composting through educational programs and posters highlighting the environmental benefits
  • Create a recipe book to be sold in supermarkets/ local shops for food that is going off/ stale
  • Ask individuals to write to their schools/ workplaces to ask for better sustainable options
  • Ask that restaurants and cafes identify where food waste occurs and take steps to improve the amount of food that is thrown out
  • Ask individuals to donate food to food banks if they are not going to eat it
  • Encourage the use and development of apps similar to FlashFood (see to effectively allow firms to sell surplus food at a discounted rate


(Erase this text: In this section, consider how your action plan can be framed to address the concerns of political, economic, and social groups. Your answers in these sections should consider the guiding questions on the student handout page. Why could you anticipate your plan as having a chance of success in gaining appropriate support? What will be its impacts? Consider both negative and positive impacts.)


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Remaining Challenges

(Erase this text: What are some remaining challenges to your action plan? What does it fail to address? How can you mitigate shortcomings?)