The Waste Biz: French Supermarkets Can No Longer Destroy Edible Food

edible food at a supermarket

Various online forums for dumpster divers regularly report on efforts by retailers to curtail diving for edible food. Many larger chains have shifted to trash compactors, while some that still use dumpsters willΒ destroy food by pouring bleach on it. If this strikes you as ridiculous, it should: food that’s good to eat should be eaten… not ruined.

The French government apparently agrees, and has passed legislation forbidding the destruction or disposal of edible food by larger supermarkets. According to The Guardian:

The law explicitly bans the practice of supermarkets deliberately spoiling unsold food so it cannot be eaten. Bigger supermarkets – those with a footprint of 400 sq m or more – will be obliged to sign formal contracts with charities by July next year, or face penalties including fines of up to €75,000 (Β£53,000) or two years in jail.

The measures are part of wider official efforts to halve the amount of food waste in the country by 2025. According to official estimates, the average French person throws out 20-30kg of food a year, at a combined national cost of up to €20bn.

In addition, the law requires schools and businesses to implement food waste education programs.

While we’ve seen statewide efforts in the US to ban sending food waste to landfills, I’m not aware of similar laws anywhere here focused on edible food. Of course, I’d love to see supermarkets and other retailers take such efforts on without legislation – maybe it’s time to start emailing.

Know of laws like this in other places, or other efforts to make sure edible food gets eaten rather than thrown away? Share them with us…

In other news from the waste sector:

Minnesota Twins shifting to compostable food containers: As we’ve noted before, using compostable or recyclable cups, plates, and utensils can increase sales at sports arenas. The Minnesota Twins are testing this theory out by partnering with Eco Products to provide compostable cups, plates, trays, straws and utensils. With this move, the packaging waste produced at Target Field will be almost completely recyclable or compostable.

Recalled ice cream turned into biogas: Talk about turning lemons into lemonade! Ohio-based Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream had to destroy 250 tons of listeria-contaminated products, and partnered with Hermitage Water Pollution Control Plant in Pennsylvania to turn this wasted ice cream into biogas. (via Waste Dive)

Photo credit: Shutterstock

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