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Grocery store employee raises questions after sharing photos of carts full of wasted food: 'I see this on a daily basis'

"I've worked for the company before. … The pictures are accurate."

"I've worked for the company before. ... The pictures are accurate."

Photo Credit: iStock

As companies shift to being more socially responsible and eco-friendly, it's important to support their efforts over companies that are being wasteful and destructive. However, we also need to recognize when there's more progress to be made. One grocery store employee was frustrated to see their workplace stop short of what they felt would be meaningful waste reduction.

What's happening?

The employee in question posted in r/Publix. "Dear Publix," they wrote, "Why are you making us take food drive donations but then making us throw away 11 bags/carts full of good bakery and deli items?"

"I've worked for the company before ... The pictures are accurate."
Photo Credit: Reddit
"I've worked for the company before ... The pictures are accurate."
Photo Credit: Reddit

They shared photos along with their complaint, showing sandwiches, pizzas, cut fruit, deviled eggs, potato salad, and cakes all piled into carts to be thrown away.

"I work front end and we share trash dumps with bakery," the original poster explained. "I was on a cleaning shift and the dump needed to emptied out it was overflowing with trash bags. I take it out then realize every one of these is filled with still good bakery goods that wouldn't expire at room temp for at least another week."

A commenter confirmed the original poster's story. "I've worked for the company before…. The pictures are accurate," they said.

"As someone who works for the company I see this on a daily basis," another confirmed. "To their credit a lot of expired product does get donated to various organizations but usually refrigerated items do not. Publix preaches waste intolerance but does not always practice that, but most major corporations do not truly do that either."

Why are Publix's food disposal policies important?

According to the OP, there are much better options than just throwing all that food away. "Why are we doing such hypocritical acts?" they demanded. "When I was at chikfila we always had food drives come by at the end of the day to collect."

Giving the food to local charities would help feed many in need while keeping food waste out of local landfills. Just throwing it away wastes food and space, drives up prices overall, and means that our food industry has to use more resources to keep everyone fed.

Is Publix doing anything about food waste?

According to the Publix website, the company does have some measures in place to help reduce food waste and ensure it goes toward feeding the hungry.

"Intolerance of waste is what Mr. George [Jenkins] believed in when he founded Publix, and it's still in our mission statement today," says Publix CEO Kevn Murphy. "Environmental responsibility has always been important to Publix. The processes we have in place — from our bagging techniques to our product packaging — support reusing, reducing, and recycling waste."

Publix says it has donated $52 million toward ending hunger since 2015 and donated almost 900 million pounds of food.

What's being done about food waste more broadly?

There are many more programs that Publix can take advantage of to deal with waste in its stores — some of which will also save you money. For example, it could list nearly expired food on an app like Too Good To Go for a quick sale at a discounted price.

Meanwhile, discarded food doesn't have to go in the trash; it can be recycled as compost or animal feed, eventually helping to produce new food.

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