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Ontario Helping Households and Businesses Reduce Food and Organic Waste

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Ontario Helping Households and Businesses Reduce Food and Organic Waste

Ontario Releases Framework to Help Increase Organic Recycling

Ontario is helping households and businesses reduce food and organic waste through its new Food and Organic Waste Framework.

Chris Ballard, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, was at a food rescue symposium in Niagara today to make the announcement.

Key actions of the Food and Organic Waste Framework include:

  • Reducing food waste from homes, businesses and institutions
  • Setting targets of 50% and 70% for municipalities and businesses to reduce and recover their food and organic waste
  • Expanding green bin collection of food and organic waste to more communities across the province
  • Expanding food and organic collection in apartment buildings, condos and other multi-unit residential buildings, as well as shopping centres, grocery stores, restaurants and public institutions

These actions will increase the diversion of food and organic waste, which are shown to generate 60 per cent more GDP and 40 per cent more jobs than disposal for every 1,000 tonnes of food and organic waste collected and recovered. The framework will also help reduce the need for new landfills in Ontario and cut greenhouse gas pollution.

In addition, Ontario is supporting Second Harvest in its efforts to expand a food rescue program that takes surplus food from supermarkets, restaurants, hotels and other vendors and redistributes it to local social service organizations.

The framework also supports the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act. Through the act, the government is working with producers, in consultation with municipalities, to transition Ontario to a producer responsibility model. This model will help achieve higher diversion rates for the blue box, used tires, electronics and household hazardous waste.

Preventing and reducing food and organic waste and fighting climate change is part of the government's plan to support care, create opportunity and make life more affordable during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes free prescription drugs for everyone under 25, and 65 or over, through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, and free preschool child care from 2 ½ to kindergarten.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario is investing $600,000 to help Second Harvest launch an online platform to make it easy for local businesses to donate surplus food to social service organizations and will expand the community-based online donation service to Kingston, Sudbury and Niagara region.
  • Ontario is committing an additional $1 million to Second Harvest’s food rescue program through the 2018 Budget.
  • The rescue of surplus food was among the top ideas voted on by the public in Ontario’s 2017 Budget Talks consultation.
  • People in Ontario send more than two million tonnes of food and organic waste to landfill every year, with the average household throwing away 125 kilograms of food waste annually.
  • Five per cent of the province’s greenhouse gas pollution comes from waste. This framework will help take the equivalent of about 260,000 cars off the road.
  • Without any further action to reduce waste, Ontario will need 16 new or expanded landfills by 2050.

Additional Resources


“Ontario residents and businesses send a staggering amount of food waste to landfills every year – up to 125 kilograms per household per year. That food waste breaks down into methane, a potent greenhouse gas. This framework will help shift how we think of food and organic waste to viewing it as a valuable resource we should recover. It’s a bold, transformative plan that will help Ontario build a strong, low-carbon and circular economy where nothing is wasted.”

Chris Ballard

Minister of the Environment and Climate Change

“Thousands of people across the province submitted ideas to this year’s Budget Talks, helping us better understand what matters most to you. That’s why we’re proud to launch the Food and Organic Waste Framework. This framework will benefit Ontario in many ways, from helping feed people to reducing stress on our landfills.”

Charles Sousa

Minister of Finance

“We are tremendously grateful for the investment from the province to expand FoodRescue.ca across Ontario. This new online system helps prevent the creation of greenhouse gases that occur when perfectly good food is thrown away. As Canada’s experts on food recovery, we are always looking for innovative and efficient ways of ensuring surplus food is redirected to people. Using web-based technology to match food donations to local social service programs just made good sense.”

Lori Nikkel

Director of Programs and Partnerships, Second Harvest

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