One restaurant worker recently took to Reddit to share one of the most frustrating aspects of their job: having to throw away massive amounts of food on a regular basis.
“The amount of food we have to throw away every night,” the poster wrote, sharing with the other members of the r/mildlyinfuriating subreddit. The accompanying photo shows a garbage can half full of what appears to be perfectly good Chinese food — lots of noodles, some chicken, and a couple of egg rolls on top.
“We don’t have a food shortage problem. We have a food waste problem,” responded one commenter.
“That’s bad management,” added another.
Food waste is, indeed, a massive problem in the United States. According to Feeding America, 119 billion pounds of food is wasted in the United States every year. That comes out to nearly 40% of our total food supply that is sent off to a landfill instead of into people’s stomachs.
Even worse, approximately 44 million people, including 13 million children, are food insecure in the United States.
And when food is sent off to a landfill, it releases planet-warming gases as it slowly breaks down, contributing to the overheating of our planet. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, food loss and waste creates planet-overheating pollution equivalent to 42 coal-fired power plants every year.
Unfortunately, it is not as simple as just sending excess food to a local charity for most stores and restaurants. Food that may be on the brink of expiration could lead to illness, creating liability for the businesses.
However, some businesses that have been willing to put in the effort have ensured that excess food has gotten into the mouths of people who needed it while the temperature of the food was still safe. The Arkansas Foodbank was able to rescue over 76,000 pounds of food after a local Kroger lost power, and a Trader Joe’s in Baton Rouge distributed free food to locals after its refrigerators went out.
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