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Dumpster diver appalled by 'obscene' discovery in trash outside local grocery store: 'I wish there were laws ... for this'

"I've seen it way too often, in quantities that are ridiculous."

Grocery store food waste

Photo Credit: iStock

A Reddit post recirculating on the r/Anticonsumption forum is causing people to think twice about what happens to the unsold food at their grocery store.

The photo shows a dumpster outside a grocery store overflowing with packages of meat, chicken breasts, and frozen pizzas. The original poster, assumed to be a dumpster diver, claimed they "Got free $13 ribeyes. Couldnt take all."

Grocery store food waste
Photo Credit: u/ToughMeasurement7053 / Reddit

Recycle Track Systems estimated that over 30% of the food in American grocery stores goes to waste yearly, which amounts to nearly 16 billion pounds. In the retail sector, this waste is worth about twice the stores' food profit. 

Close to 35% of the food wasted by grocery stores either goes to landfills, releasing atmospheric-warming methane gas as it biodegrades, or is incinerated. The majority of the food waste is produce (32.3%), dairy and eggs (13.9%), and meat and seafood (13.5%), per ReFed.

A very small percentage of food is donated to individuals via food banks and food recovery programs. However, the amount of food donated to feed hungry populations is limited because of the resources needed to transport the food from stores to the centers. If the food is safe to consume, there are avenues to ensure the food gets to those who need it most.

Although retailers mistakenly believe they can be held liable for people getting sick from donated food, the 1996 Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act protects donors criminally and civilly who, in good faith, donate food to recovery programs and food banks. Some municipalities and governments even offer tax incentives for donations. 

Many commenters shared their disgust with the wasted food in the dumpster and the countless animals slaughtered to make that wasted food. 

"So those animals lived and died to be thrown into a dumpster," one user commented

"That's obscene," said another.

Other commenters shared their industry perspective on the waste issue. 

"I've seen it way too often, in quantities that are ridiculous. I wish there were laws & regulations for this type of thing. It's always about sales & never about ethics," another user indicated

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