In early July, a dumpster diver on Reddit mourned a huge pile of food that they reached “about an hour too late.”
Dumpster diving has picked up support over the years in online communities like r/DumpsterDiving, where people share tips for safe and effective sessions. While some worry that they might get in legal trouble for taking items from the trash, it’s legal in all 50 states as long as dumpster divers avoid trespassing.
Meanwhile, the amount of food and other products that stores simply throw away makes the practice well worth the effort. This Redditor shared just one example of the kind of waste that businesses across the U.S. throw out every day.
The user shared a photo of a large commercial dumpster loaded up with unopened food. Most of what was visible was a pile of prepackaged lunch kits: pizzas, nachos, and cracker packs, including several packages of the iconic Lunchables. Other frozen or refrigerated packages held microwavable meatloaf, macaroni, deli meat, and KitKat ice cream. In all, hundreds of unopened meals were left to spoil in the trash.
“Was able to grab some things still cool over in the shade,” the Redditor said, underscoring just how close they came to finding the dumpster before the rest of the food thawed. “What really pisses me off is that this is ‘real food.’ Chips are food, but this is food that could fill bellies that go to sleep hungry with a somewhat nutritional value.”
Food waste is an ongoing issue in the U.S., and many restaurants and stores continue to throw out food that is close to expiring, but still safe to eat. Not only does this cost the business money, but it contributes to increased air pollution, as replacement products have to be shipped to the stores. Meanwhile, food-insecure people, often children, are going hungry in the same neighborhoods where piles of food are going to waste.
The Too Good To Go app and other similar services try to address this problem by helping stores and restaurants sell their expiring food at a discount. Even so, many businesses don’t bother.
“Wow, that’s horrible,” said one commenter after seeing the original poster’s photo.
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