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Walmart employee shares disappointing photo of product going to waste: 'Absolutely disgusting how much food gets wasted'

"We [for real] get this thrown out every week."

"We [for real] get this thrown out every week."

Photo Credit: iStock

A Walmart employee took to Reddit to expose a concerning trend they've witnessed on the job: large quantities of unsold milk being thrown out on a regular basis.

The whistleblower shared a photo of stacks of plastic crates filled with wasted jugs of regular and chocolate milk.

"We [for real] get this thrown out every week."
Photo Credit: Reddit
"We [for real] get this thrown out every week."
Photo Credit: Reddit

What's happening?

According to the anonymous employee's post in the r/Milk subreddit, Walmart has been tossing out shocking amounts of milk that didn't sell by the expiration date.

"We fr get this thrown out every week," the user wrote. "It hasn't been too bad thankfully for the past month or two cause we starting selling more."

A commenter echoed this sentiment: "I remember working at Walmart. I worked in a deli in a neighborhood market. Some nights I'd fill half a commercial trash can with still edible cheese and meats from the cooler outside.

"Absolutely disgusting how much food gets wasted in retail stores."

Why is food waste concerning?

Food waste has major environmental and social implications. When unsold food ends up in landfills, it releases methane, a potent, dirty gas that contributes to our planet's dangerous overheating.

What's more, the resources that went into producing that discarded food — the land, water, energy, labor, etc. — are all squandered when perfectly good products are sent to the dump instead of to those in need.

In a world wherein millions experience food insecurity, this waste feels especially unethical.

Is Walmart doing anything about this?

Walmart has an existing food donation program, which connects stores with local food banks and other nonprofits to give away unsold goods. Walmart also says it has pledged $10 million to support food banks and school meal programs across America.

However, the employee's Reddit post suggests there may be gaps in this initiative's implementation.

It's unclear whether this milk waste problem is isolated or a more widespread issue across Walmart locations. Challenges around food safety regulations and refrigeration logistics can sometimes make milk and dairy products trickier to donate than shelf-stable goods.

What's being done about food waste more broadly?

Many grocers, including Kroger and Whole Foods, have stepped up efforts in recent years to reduce in-store food waste and ramp up donation programs. Consumers can help by being mindful of their own household food waste — buying only what they need, eating leftovers, and composting scraps are a few good ways to do this. 

Apps such as Too Good To Go also make purchasing discounted groceries and prepared foods nearing their "best by" dates easy, helping stores recoup costs on items that would otherwise get tossed. With a few tweaks, Walmart can likely strengthen its food waste prevention systems to ensure more milk ends up in the hands of those who need it.

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