Every year, 119 billion pounds of food is wasted in the United States, which equates to more than $408 billion worth of meals. And it looks like around half of that (give or take) came from a single party where nobody wanted to eat the mac and cheese.
One irate Redditor recently shared some photos on the r/Anticonsumption subreddit, along with the headline: “Neighbor had a party and then just left entire food trays in the alleyway.”
While the average American household throws away around $1,500 worth of food per year, dumping entire trays of perfectly good food in an alleyway seems especially egregious.
Thirty-four million people in the U.S. are food insecure, including more than nine million (around one in eight) children. One option for the leftover party food would have been to box it up and take it to a local community fridge, where it could have easily fed dozens of hungry people.
“As someone who works with community fridges, this hurts,” wrote one commenter on the Reddit post.
Even if the food wasn’t destined to make it to someone in desperate need, it still didn’t have to be wasted so blatantly. As several commenters pointed out, it could have easily been sent home with the party guests.
“I always bring Tupperware to friends’ events cuz we over order,” said one Redditor.
“To go boxes? Tupperware? Donating it? Literally anything [other] than leaving them on the ground to rot around people’s houses?” fumed another commenter.
“If you can’t give it away … AT LEAST COMPOST IT!” wrote another.
Around 6%-8% of all planet-warming gases caused by humans come from food waste sitting in landfills, where it produces methane. (Although, because the party host just tossed it all on the ground, it doesn’t look like their food waste is even going to make it as far as the landfill.)
Recently, laws were changed to allow restaurants to donate more leftover food to the hungry, which is certainly a step in the right direction. We can also look to countries like South Korea, which legally mandates composting, for inspiration on how to deal with this massive, mostly unaddressed problem.
Most Reddit users were appalled by the careless disposal of the food, with one summing it up perfectly, saying, “This is horrendous.”
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