VANCOUVER — In the event you’re not going to eat it, someone else will. That’s why a brand new pilot challenge is giving meals waste a second likelihood.
The Fraser Valley Regional District in partnership with FoodMesh — an internet market connecting farmers, eating places and meals producers with charities and non-profit — is redirecting meals that may in any other case be tossed to those that want it.
Meals waste leads to the landfill and it’s a “big” downside, mentioned Jason Lum, chair of the FVRD.
“We all know that a whole bunch of hundreds of kilograms of meals is thrown away throughout the province,” Lum mentioned. “We’ve an enormous agricultural sector, so we are attempting to attach the 2.”
Roughly $31 billion value of meals is wasted yearly within the nation, in keeping with a report from Meals Safe Canada, with households throwing away roughly $100 a month and creating 21 million tonnes of greenhouse fuel emissions, predominantly from landfills.
And the vast majority of meals dumped is edible, Lum added. As an illustration, he mentioned the Fraser Valley natural composter obtained a “pallet load” of avocados. However due to the fruit stickers, the avocados had been refused and ended up within the landfill.
Modelled on the sharing economic system, FoodMesh is the “good inbetweener,” Lum mentioned. The platform simplifies meals redistribution by matching provide and demand to energy the round economic system — which has no waste and is regenerative in nature.
Final summer time, FoodMesh redistributed 4,100 circumstances — roughly 40 pallets — of mislabelled, natural, granola bars to wildfire evacuees.
That saved the corporate greater than $10,000 in tipping charges, which is a value related to any drop on the landfill. Since 2017, FoodMesh has diverted greater than 200,000 kilograms of meals, supplied 330,000 meals and saved roughly $1.three million, in keeping with a information launch.
Foodmesh’s focus is “greater up the provision chain the place truckloads of product is discarded,” mentioned co-founder and CEO, Jessica Pautsch.
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All collaborating companies are vetted to make sure meals security, Pautsch mentioned, noting the pilot challenge already has a number of charities enlisted.
“We’re particularly on the lookout for meals producers and processors with extra provide to both promote or donate,” she mentioned. “It’s a unbelievable alternative to get nice merchandise at a fraction of the associated fee, whereas supporting native companies.”
Whereas governments have been more and more involved about tackling meals waste, there are vital limitations: many companies concern legal responsibility points.
However that’s a fable, Pautsch mentioned.
The BC Meals Donor Encouragement Act explicitly states that an individual who donates will not be responsible for damages, resembling accidents or demise brought on by consuming meals, except that was the intention or the meals was unfit for consumption.
That’s why FoodMesh gives an choice of privateness for collaborating companies to fight conventional stigma. And never every little thing is donated: meals might be offered at a lowered price as nicely.
The FVRD hopes to divert 70,000 kg of meals to greater makes use of by the top of the two-year pilot challenge, mentioned Jamie Benton, environmental companies co-ordinator. Plans are to document the metrics, resembling greenhouse fuel emissions saved.
Not solely are there financial advantages, however environmental and social benefits. Canada has dedicated to the United Nations’ 2030 world meals waste targets.
“Folks count on corporations to search out alternate options for the meals they’re throwing away. … There’s plenty of meals insecurity throughout Canada and in B.C., and we’re throwing away meals which may very well be going towards higher causes,” Benton mentioned.
Meals producers or processors enthusiastic about collaborating within the challenge can attend a half-an-hour webinar on Aug. 23 at 2 p.m. by contacting have [email protected]
Melanie Inexperienced is a Vancouver-based reporter masking meals tradition and coverage. Comply with her on Twitter: @mdgmedia