A Reddit post with more than a thousand upvotes left people fired up and hungry for change. The poster shares a picture of bags of bread with the caption, “I was forced to throw away bags of bread while at work. There is a homeless shelter two miles from where I work. All of this food wasted.”
The poster says they work at Panera Bread and that this is the amount of food wasted daily at their franchise. It ends up in the trash instead of the nearby homeless shelter, even though more than 34 million Americans experience food insecurity, according to Feeding America.
A Natural Resources Defense Council report shows that wasting just 15% less would save enough food to feed 25 million Americans annually. While donating food seems like an obvious solution, many companies likely don’t donate due to liability issues, opting instead to toss it out.
Food waste is bad for our planet, too. Food is the most common material in landfills in the U.S., and when food rots, it releases methane, a toxic planet-warming gas that is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
Further, when food is wasted, so are the resources used to make it. Upward of 85% of the heat-trapping gases that stem from food waste come from activities prior to disposal, like harvesting and shipping crops. While this statistic may feel discouraging, we can all work to reduce food waste.
Jose Graziano da Silva, the director of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Natins, said, “In addition (to) the environmental imperative, there is a moral one: We simply cannot allow one-third of all the food we produce to go to waste when 870 million people (globally) go hungry every day.”
Commenters on the Reddit post couldn’t agree more. “I worked at a well known bakery in Dallas, Tx that would throw this away on the daily. On many occasions, 3-5 bags worth. Unreal,” said one user.
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