Extra Food Becomes Extra Waste

In the United States, food waste is very common. Restaurants and food companies throw away extra food all the time instead of donating to food banks, but why?

 

You would think the answer would be because the restaurants don’t want to be liable for any health complications that come from eating old food. But with the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, restaurants are relieved of this liability. So then why do food companies refuse to donate their extra food to food banks? The unfortunate answer is that donating extra food isn’t in the best interest of the restaurants.

 

How is wasting extra food instead of donating it the best interest for the restaurants?  It doesn’t make sense considering that 40 million tons of food is thrown away every year and that food takes up the majority of landfill space. Wasted food also generates 7% of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. While each of these statistics is negative and affecting the world negatively, it is not directly impacting the restaurants. 

 

For starters, wasting the extra food is cheaper than donating it. Donating food comes with a lot of extra expenses such as renting or purchasing a vehicle to get the food to the food bank. They also have to pay for people to unload, load and drive the truck. This ends up costing the company a lot of money, especially considering this would likely take place multiple times a week. But it’s not just about the money. Companies want to protect their image. If a story about how old food from their restaurant got someone sick, it could negatively affect them. 

 

So, a good follow-up question needs to be how we convince these restaurants and food companies to focus more on the worldly impact of wasting food as opposed to the financial burden donating might have. 

 

Sources

  1. https://www.rts.com/resources/guides/food-waste-america/

  2. http://media.law.uark.edu/arklawnotes/2013/08/08/the-legal-guide-to-the-bill-emerson-good-samaritan-food-donation-act/