VANCOUVER — Large retailers in Canada joined local and provincial governments and agencies on July 18 to launch a national Love Food Hate Waste campaign. The group hopes to alter Canadians’ behaviors around food and drastically reduce the amount of food wasted in the country.

The campaign, headed by the National Zero Waste Council, offers tips for storing and keeping fresh food, using up existing ingredients and better planning to avoid over-purchasing food. The idea comes from a United Kingdom model, where avoidable household food waste was cut by 21 percent in its first five years, saving UK consumers £13 billion.

“The Love Food Hate Waste campaign is desperately needed to tackle food waste across the country,” said Malcolm Brodie, chair of the National Zero Waste Council. “The campaign is the first coordinated national approach to help Canadians change their relationship with food. It only takes a small change, such as buying only what we need so food doesn't spoil or get forgotten in the back of the fridge and is then thrown out.”

According to the National Zero Waste Council, 47 percent of food waste in Canada is occurring in the home. The group also said that more than 60 percent of the food Canadians throw away could have been eaten, costing the average Canadian household more than C$1,100 per year. In total, 2.2 million tons of edible food are thrown out annually.

Metro Vancouver founded the council in collaboration with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities in 2013.