Guelph University Food Waste Study

A team of scientists at the University of Guelph spent weeks combing through the garbage of dozens of households to come up with what the researchers say is the most accurate measure yet of how much food is wasted in Canadian kitchens. They wanted to find out how much food that COULD have been eaten wound up in the garbage; and they released that information in a peer reviewed study.


The team calculated that so much fruit, vegetables, bread and meat got tossed that the families could have had a guest for supper five nights a week. In the study, which looked at 94 families in Guelph, over three- and four-week periods in 2017 and 2018, they found that an average of about 3 kilograms of food a week was thrown out that could have been avoided. They determined it’s worth was about $18.


By The Numbers:

  • Average total food waste was 4.41 kg per week or 229.32 kg per year.
  • Average avoidable food waste was 2.98 kg per week or 154 kg per year.
  • They estimate an average cost of $18 per week or $936 per year.


They also determined this waste was the equivalent of producing 23 kg of greenhouse gases (GHG) per week or 1,196 kg of GHG per year. Which is the equivalent of driving 4700 km in a car and would take 20 trees 10 years, growing from a sapling, to absorb according to the EPA Greenhouse Gas calculator.


On the plus side the University has also released a cook book intended to help reduce Food Waste which is available to download in PDF form.

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