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Washington State University Extension

Shrink Food Waste

Program Contact: Benji Astrachan, Waste Prevention Specialist
360-417-2000 ext. 2999 •

gif of olympic peninsula rotating between how it normally looks to how it looks under a mountain of food waste

Original photo of Olympic Mountains by Lindsey Aspelund Photograpy

In North America, 168 million tons of food is lost or wasted every year –  enough to feed 260 million people—that’s over half of the region’s population. Of this 168 million tons, Americans waste 915lbs per capita, Canadians 873lbs per capita, and Mexicans 549lbs per capita.

What is this campaign all about?

We are partnering with the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) on the #ShrinkFoodWaste awareness campaign which aims to address the problem of food waste in North America. By educating youth on the impact of food loss and waste, the CEC hopes to inspire everyday behavior changes. Through a range of easy-to-use tools, including a series of e-learning videos, CEC wants to shine a light on how North Americans can help reduce their contributions to the food waste problem. The Olympic Peninsula is one of three pilot areas for the campaign, along with Montreal, Canada and Merida, Mexico!

What is the climate change impact of all this waste?

  • In North America, it’s estimated that food loss and waste generates close to 193 million tonnes of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions annually, equaling 41 million cars driven continuously for a year.  If we address food loss and waste, we address climate change.

Why focus on youth?

  • Quite simply, youth are drivers for behavioral change! We believe that we can engage motivated and remarkable young people to be ambassadors for environmental protection in North America, and specifically, for leading behavior changes within their homes, schools and communities. The Kit is a tool to be used by educators and parents and young leaders alike, and this campaign takes this effort a step further by designing e-learning modules to be directly used by youth and help them become drivers of change.

How can I join?

  • Join the Youth Movement! Register as an individual or as part of a club, organization, class, team, group of friends
  • Check out the Food Matters Action Kit which contains over 70 activities to engage youth in preventing food waste. Activities can be done individually or in a series, in any order that suits learning themes for your class or organization. There are two sets of activities: for kids (ages 5-13) and youth (ages 14-25) organized together by theme.
  • Download the Activity Guide.
  • Contact us for assistance with getting started, activities, and so that we can share your efforts internationally!



What is Food Waste?

Tale of the Forgotten Food

Day of the Ugly Food

CEC Food Matters Action Kit

Join the youth movement for fun activities you can do remotely!


Our partners in addition to the Commission for Environmental Cooperation:

list of partners