Food waste is a big problem in the United States, and it is often a big source of frustration for food workers. One such worker recently took to Reddit to share their annoyance at having to constantly throw perfectly good food in the trash.
The accompanying photo shows many plastic bags full of what appear to be perfectly good sandwich rolls — over 100 rolls in total — which seem destined to end up in a landfill rather than into the mouths of hungry people.
According to Feeding America, nearly 40% of the total food supply in the United States is wasted. It amounts to 160 billion pounds (or $444 billion) of food sent to landfills every year, where it takes up space and releases planet-overheating gases as it breaks down.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, food waste creates annual planet-overheating emissions equivalent to 42 coal-fired power plants every year.
This type of waste is especially frustrating when you consider that 44 million people, including 13 million children, face food insecurity in the U.S.
Restaurants and stores are often reluctant to give away excess food because it is both extra work for employees and creates potential liability for the business if someone gets sick from eating an expired food. However, some stores have made the effort to distribute food that is still at a safe temperature.
In Baton Rouge, a Trader Joe’s distributed free food to locals after its refrigerators went out. And in Arkansas, a local food bank rescued over 76,000 pounds of food from a Kroger after it lost power.
Sadly, even when employees want to put in the extra work to make sure that food gets to people who need it, the higher-ups often stand in their way.
“Can you propose freezing and thawing the bread instead? Or donating it?” wrote one commenter on the Reddit thread.
“I’d do it myself but I’ll get in trouble if management finds out,” the original poster replied.
Another person added, “Yeah, this is very sad.”
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