Guelph-Wellington's Commercial Food Waste Diversion Collective

Rescue. recover. renew

Interested in joining? Contact us for more information!

The industrial, commercial and institutional (IC&I) sectors are among the country’s largest contributors to unnecessary food waste. Often this reality doesn’t align with the community and sustainability values of many businesses, however implementing food waste diversion practices can be complicated.

Guelph-Wellington’s Commercial Food Waste Diversion Collective simplifies the process for City and County businesses and institutions, making it easy for grocery stores, restaurants, hotels, catering services, hospitals, long-term care, manufacturing, multi-residential dwellings, office buildings, schools, shopping complexes and more, to keep food waste out of landfill at an affordable price! Participants in the program work together to advance food waste diversion at costs comparable to landfill disposal.


Be a community leader. Give back.

Through this program, edible food is diverted from landfill and sent to charities that support community members experiencing food insecurity. Food that can’t be donated is converted to high-quality compost for local gardens and farms.


Be a sustainability leader. Reduce food waste.

This program advances circularity in the food system while addressing the pressing issue of climate change. It allows innovators to take a bold stand against food waste, work towards a net-zero food system, improve food security and create a more sustainable future for all.


Be an industry leader. Strengthen your brand.

The program supports innovative operations, data collection and connections between businesses. It results in a more efficient and affordable approach to managing food waste and participation strengthens brand trust and loyalty among consumers and staff.


“The quoting itself was a bit of a process. It took three months to figure it out and often the quotes themselves weren’t easy to navigate. Circular Innovation Council was transparent and the conversation was open. It was a no brainer. For us, it’s not just about diverting food waste from landfills; it’s knowing that it’s getting a second life – the program has provided us with an option that aligns with our values. We’ll 100% continue as long as it’s financially viable.” – Katherine Sowden, Owner & Operator, Bella Roma Foods

“Knowing the waste is being diverted from landfill and processed into premium compost through the collective was what drew us to it. That fits with one of our core values – to operate sustainably. Bust cost-wise, it was also comparable to landfill pickup. That’s important because being profitable at the end of the year means we are able to give back to the community. Circular Innovation Council has shared some initial results and metrics with us – how many pounds of food were rescued, the reduction of CO2 emissions and more. This is something that everybody can embrace, and we’re very much interested in seeing it continue.” – Fountain Santos, Managing Partner at Neighbourhood Group of Companies, owns Park Eatery

“We were an original sponsor. Being concerned about the environment is part of our mandate, and we look to support programs and places. Food and food waste felt like a natural fit. We believed in the cause. Our team had a few hurdles to work through, but that’s common when implementing any new program. In the end, staff came together to push the initiative forward and we’ve had some success; there is significant opportunity for it to be successful and positive. The environment is more important than any bottom line. Moving forward, GRAS’s goal is to make it a strong and functional program, and we’re looking forward to increasing our volume. I would absolutely recommend this program” – Doug McCaig, Facilities Manager at Grand River Raceway and GrandWay Events Centre


Boundaries and map


This pilot is made possible through the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Food Waste Reduction Challenge: Business Models.

Organic waste is collected by WM and delivered to Walker Environmental’s All Treat Farms in Arthur, ON for processing into valuable compost for biodiversity applications.

Food rescue is enabled by Second Harvest’s Food Rescue App, which allows businesses to notify local charitable partners there is edible food available for collection at a negotiated time.

Pilot data analysis, including greenhouse gas emissions avoided, tonnes food waste diverted per IC&I subsector, and economic analysis of the pilot model will be verified by the University of Guelph.

The pilot, created by Circular Innovation Council and hosted by the City of Guelph and the County of Wellington through the Our Food Future program, is also supported by Clean River Recycling Solutions, Glad, Grand River Agricultural Society, Longo’s, and Skyline Group of Companies to bring circular economy solutions to the region.