Scientists Audit Garbage to Assess Household Food Waste

September 26, 2019 Updated: September 27, 2019

At the Waste Management facility in North Brooklyn, tons of leftover food sits piled up before being processed into “bio-slurry,” in New York, in this Aug. 29, 2018 photo. A team of scientists spent weeks combing through the garbage of dozens of households to come up with what they say is the most accurate measure yet of how much food is wasted in Canadian kitchens. (The Canadian Press/AP/Stephen Groves)

A team of scientists 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.

Michael Von Massow at the University of Guelph acknowledged it was, at times, messy.

But he adds it was the best way to find out how much food that could have been eaten wound up in the garbage.

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.

That amounts to about six kilograms of food a week, worth about $18.

Von Massow says producing and disposing of that wasted food generated about 23 kilograms of greenhouse gases every week.

He looked at 94 families in Guelph, Ont., over three− and four−week periods in 2017 and 2018.

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