Circular Innovation Council Awarded Finalist in the AAFC Food Waste Reduction Challenge

Circular Innovation Council Awarded Finalist in the AAFC Food Waste Reduction Challenge

Winnings will Expand and Extend Its Circular Food Waste Pilot to Improve ICI Sector Performance  

June 16, 2022 (Toronto, ON)

Circular Innovation Council is delighted to announce its selection as a Finalist in Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Food Waste Reduction Challenge: Business Models stream.   

Our solution addresses long standing organics disposal and data collection challenges in the institutional, commercial, and industrial (IC&I) sector—Canada’s largest generator of food waste.  The solution, currently piloted in its second iteration in Guelph and Wellington County, offers regionally based, shared collection service and costs between neighbouring locations of all sizes. The goals are to reduce costs, maximize food and food waste diversion, and cut greenhouse gas emissions. The solution also incorporates edible food rescue and offers innovative co-operative cost-sharing between participants.

“Being selected as a Finalist recognizes Circular Innovation Council’s leadership in developing innovative circular economy solutions and facilitating unique partnerships between the public and private sectors”, says Jo-Anne St. Godard, Executive Director.  “We look forward to improving and expanding the co-operative co-shared financial model while testing its transferability in other jurisdictions across Canada.”

In May 2021, Circular Innovation Council received a $100,000 grant from the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Food Waste Reduction Challenge: Business Models stream that enabled the pilot to launch in Guelph and Wellington County, Ontario.

As one of 12 finalists, Circular Innovation Council will receive an additional $400,000 to expand its pilot projects, testing this model in various communities and under a variety of conditions. To further test the model, Circular Innovation Council is seeking host municipalities, associations, and/or local business organizations outside of Ontario where there is appetite to advance the circular economy and maximize diversion of edible food and organic waste.

For more information on the challenge and this announcement, refer to the Food Waste Reduction Challenge: Business Models stream at Impact Canada.


Over 50% of all food in Canada is wasted every year, representing annual losses of more than $107 billion, while 1 in 7 Canadians suffer from food insecurity.   In addition, 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions are caused by food waste. 

Along the processing, distribution, foodservice and retail value chain, an estimated 22 tonnes of food waste is produced annually.  The majority of organic and food waste generated from industrial, commercial, and institutional (IC&I) sources – hospitals, universities, manufacturing facilities, shopping plazas and restaurants – is lost to disposal in Canada. With ongoing support from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Food Waste Reduction Challenge: Business Model streams, Circular Innovation Council has been piloting an innovative model to improve management and recovery of edible food and food waste in the IC&I sector to redefine value and put circular economy concepts into action.

Historically, two neighbouring commercial locations may have two different collection service providers. This uncoordinated approach leads to collection inefficiencies and increased costs.  Simultaneously, with limited regulatory requirements and cost disparity between disposal and organic services, many generators in the ICI sector are disposing their organics, in particular those that are smaller.   Furthermore, publicly available data on food waste produced by various businesses and institutions is extremely limited, slowing development of policy as well as innovative solutions.

Currently operating in Guelph and Wellington County, Ontario, Circular Innovation Council’s pilot aims to mimic the efficient municipal model of door-to-door collection in a regionally consolidated collection system, providing affordable organics diversion for all sizes and types of generators of food waste, while also facilitating edible food rescue. The objectives of the pilot are to optimize services, to improve organics collection, reduce cost, waste and carbon emissions and improve data collection.  

Guelph-Wellington Result to Date: (Nov 1 – April 30, 2022)

In partnership with Our Food Future, County of Wellington, City of Guelph, and numerous private sector and non-profit partners instrumental to its success, the pilot has diverted 12,390 kgs of edible food to local charitable partners, and collected more than 139 tonnes of food waste for processing.

Number of IC&I Participants on Collection Route

45 across nine IC&I subsectors: Grocery Retailer, Hospital, Hotel, Manufacturing, Multi-Residential, Office Building, Restaurant, School, and Shopping Complex.

Distance of Route

183 km

Total Organic Waste Collected and Diverted

139 tonnes

GHGs Avoided: Diversion from Landfill

143 tonnes CO2e (equivalent to 44 cars off the road for a year)

Compost Generated From Organic Waste

 37.5 cubic yards

Contamination Rate


Total Edible Food Rescued

 12,390 Kilograms (equivalent to 26,718 meals)

Value of Edible Food Recovered


GHGs Avoided Through Food Rescue

 63 tonnes CO2e


For more information, visit or reach out to: [email protected].





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