• Business Business

Store employee shares photo of food products on way to dumpster: 'I hate seeing food waste'

"Imagine how many people in the world would benefit from that."

"Imagine how many people in the world would benefit from that."

Photo Credit: iStock

Seeing perfectly good food going to waste is always disheartening, especially if you're the one having to throw it out. 

During one of their shifts at a local dollar store, a Redditor shared a photo of a cartful of unsold cereals and other snacks headed for the dumpster. 

What's happening?

The employee shared their frustration about having to get rid of the boxed food items, writing, "All of it out of date but most of it barely so, all went into a dumpster instead of donating, kills me every time."

"Imagine how many people in the world would benefit from that."
Photo Credit: Reddit

While the food was slightly expired, as the Redditor noted, one commenter believed it could be salvaged. "Bro the amount [of] preservatives, all of that is probably still good for another month or two," they wrote

The original poster simply replied, "Without a doubt."

"I hate seeing food waste. Imagine how many people in the world would benefit from that. We throw so much away. Even in the U.S., there are people who don't know where their next meal is going to come from," another user shared

Why is food waste concerning?

As the Redditor noted, food insecurity in the United States is a major issue, with around 44 million people — including 13 million children — in the country experiencing hunger in 2022, according to Feeding America

While companies must take precautions to ensure food is safe for consumption before donating it, according to the Department of Agriculture, most processed items on store shelves are still good even after their "best by" dates. 

🗣️ Should grocery stores be allowed to throw away food that is still OK to eat?

🔘 YES 👍

🔘 NO 👎

🗳️ Click your choice to see results and speak your mind

Though food waste is a complex problem, and companies are trying to ensure no one gets sick from expired food, donating it when possible could simultaneously help tackle the hunger crisis and reduce waste in landfills. The USDA reports that 30-40% of the U.S. food supply is wasted, which contributes to planet-warming pollution when it decomposes, per Feeding America

Are companies doing anything about this?

It's unclear what dollar store the OP works at and also what policies that particular store has regarding food donations. However, Dollar Tree is taking steps to make its operations more sustainable, including boosting recycling efforts and offering more eco-friendly products. 

As far as food waste is concerned, major grocery chains have taken steps to save food, such as a Kroger in Little Rock that donated over 76,000 pounds of food to a local food bank after the store lost power, and a Trader Joe's that simply gave away thousands of dollars' worth of groceries to customers when its refrigerators went out.

What's being done about food waste more broadly?

According to research by the Pacific Coast Collaborative, grocery stores along the Pacific Coast have reduced the amount of unsold food going to waste by nearly 190,000 tons from 2019 to 2022. During that time, researchers noticed that unsold food donations increased by 20%, while composting rates went up by 28%. 

If you have extra perishable food at home that you're not able to eat or donate, composting is a great way to recycle those scraps and help your garden thrive. 

Join our free newsletter for cool news and actionable info that makes it easy to help yourself while helping the planet.

Cool Divider