Circular Food Constellation Self-Reflection Tool

Let’s explore how your food and waste habits fit into the bigger picture! 

Diagram showing a personalized "food-constellation" giving scores on various sectors.


The outside of the circle lists different actions you can take to prevent food waste and at the very least, make sure it doesn’t end up in landfill. 

Consider each action on the circle.  If you regularly do it, give yourself a higher number. Perhaps there’s an action you’ve tried but stopped?  Score yourself somewhere in the middle.  If something is new to you, give yourself a 0. 

Once you’ve plotted all of your answers, connect the dots together to make a food waste constellation. 


Plan your meals:

Meal Plan:  Planning your meals and making a shopping list are two easy ways to reduce your food waste.  How often do you plan your meals?

Shop your kitchen:  When you review the foods in your kitchen cupboards, fridge and freezer before heading to the store, you use up what you have. Before you shop, do you check what you already have before buying new groceries?
Buy what you need:  Shopping at bulk stores and noting quantities on your shopping list is a good way to make sure you buy what you need and prevent waste.  Do you regularly shop in bulk and/or aim to buy only what you need?


  • Make a grocery list based on what you will cook that week after checking what you already have!
  • Plan to first use the ingredients that will spoil the quickest

Use what’s available:

Food Rescue: We know that there is a heck of a lot of perfectly good food that is wasted throughout the food system.  Actions such as gleaning, purchasing foods made with upcycled ingredients and using food rescue tools are all great ways to capture and use good food and prevent waste.

Upcycling is a great way to prevent food waste.  There are many new examples of these foods becoming available.  Upcycled products use ingredients that are safe and edible but reached peak freshness before they could be sold in a store.  

Gleaning is the collection of crops from fields, gardens or trees that have already been harvested or where no one is planning to harvest.  The food is essentially going to waste if no one collects it.  

Food rescue apps such as Too Good To Go helps stores and restaurants sell their surplus food through an app. Customers choose a restaurant or store, they order a “surprise bag” of surplus food at a reduced price and then collect it from the store during a pre-set collection window.

Preserve: Humans have discovered many wonderful ways to preserve food.  Do you use your freezer to store extra meals?  Do you freeze, can, salt, dehydrate, and/or ferment any produce to extend its shelf life?

Batch Cooking: Batch cooking, or cooking in bulk, means cooking larger amounts of food so you can store some for later. If you don’t have time to cook every day, it’s a great way to make sure you have healthy meals ready when you need them.  Some people even cook an entire week’s worth of food in one day so they are prepared, save money and reduce waste.  Have you ever tried batch cooking?


  • If you have extra food, share with a friend or neighbour
  • Borrow kitchen tools from a friend, neighbours or family or from the Guelph Tool Library to help with food preserving
  • Find a local gleaning group and volunteer
  • Donate items you won’t use to a local food bank

Food Storage:

Reuse:  The way we transport food can be more sustainable by repackaging and reusing containers.  Do you avoid single use servings (yogurt, snacks, etc) by repackaging bulk items in reusable containers?  Do you opt for sustainable food storage products such as beeswax wraps instead of plastic wrap?

Refill:  Local bulk stores offer food at great prices and reduce unnecessary packaging.  Do you spend your food dollars at bulk stores? Give yourself some bonus points if you bring your own containers to refill. 

Refuse:  How often do you refuse to use take out containers, opting to bring your own travel mugs, water bottles, utensils and/or plastic bags?


  • Learn about proper food storage to keep food fresh for longer.  Love Food Hate Waste has some great tips and tricks.
  • Check out a Bulk or Zero-Waste Store for your necessities
  • Carry a reusable container when you are out and about

Discard your food waste:

Green Bin: Both the City of Guelph and the County of Wellington have introduced curbside Green Bin composting programs to turn organic waste into compost. While some residents still don’t have access to this service. 

Compost: Composting food scraps at home or in a community garden provides you with healthy soil for your own plants.  Do you compost

using an outdoor bin, a home system such as a Lomi Composter, or a Bokashi?

Livestock:  Do you have backyard chickens, livestock or worms that eat your food scraps?  


  • Learn about properly sorting your waste.  In the City of Guelph? Check out the Waste Wizard
  • In the County of Wellington? Check out the Recycle Coach
  • Give backyard composting a try
  • Learn about vermicomposting