Tired if all the waste

milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)April 10, 2013

I am often in the backrooms of stores and I have become incensed at the waste of food that I see every day. I want to know if someone knows of a way to utilize the wasted food that the stores will allow. Most corporations are afraid of law suits and therefore do not donate the food to shelters, etc.

I was at Sam's a while ago and witnessed cartloads of rotisserie chickens being dumped in the trash. Apparently by law they have to discard them every 4 hours. I've seen cartloads of Yoplait yogurt, pineapples, and watermelons, really anything that is not pristine and perfect.

I watched a Dirty Jobs a while ago that showed someone taking the waste from the buffets in Las Vegas and cooking it and feeding it to his pigs. This would be far better than dumping it in the garbage.

It used to be that stores would discount the imperfect or over-ripe food but now they won't do it. I have often thought to ask for the fruit so I could compost it but the massive amounts that are thrown away are far too much for me to deal with.

I'm a God-fearing person and I am just really concerned what the ramifications of all this waste will be. Does anyone know of a program that makes use of this waste? The fact is that every food store in this country, and probably most developed countries, throws away a huge percent of their perishable food on a regular basis. I can't take it any more.

This post was edited by milehighgirl on Wed, Apr 10, 13 at 22:09

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Raw_Nature(5 OH)

Girl, this really hits home, me and you are very like minded.. Not sure of a program.. Maybe try and donate it to a food bank, shelter,etc... But the key is how are you going to obtain it, legally, especially if you are going to be a frequent donator... I would tell you to jump in a dumpster, I do it all the time, that's how I feed my dogs, and I get lots of fruit to juice,etc... But it's a whole different ballgame, what your risking giving it to other people.. The liability went from the store(dumpster), to you and the store, giving it to others... I returned spinach at sams once, and they just throw it out, even if it's bot opened, I don't think they are allowed to sell it or take it home for themselves... It almost make you ask for it bad, after returning in.. But of course, everyone would be doing that... If I was you, I would start "browsing witch dumps are the "cleanest" and "valuable" and perhaps, do a little free shopping for yourself and go from there... Some emoyees/managers are real ashole*.. But I don't the cops are really going to do to much, the have more to worry about that a harmless person looking to put food on the table, and help others... The managers even confronted me and I was explaining I use it for my compost pile, I don't even think she knew what compost was, just looked at me stupid and told me she's going to call the cops next time... It might sound disgusting an taboo to some... But to others who aren't to proud and take nothing for granted, They get the same produce that people go in and pay hundreds of bucks for, for free! You really can't beat it... But i wouldn't go so far and start donatin it with permission, you might even need licensing,etc... They throw it out for a reason, so thats half the reason you really can't give it to others.. But the ting that most people don understand is, some of the stuff has no reason to throw out, besides being overstocked.. Lazy employee would rather toss it, then sort input and organize it,etc... You wouldn't believe what i get for free, the same quality you go pay your hard earned money for... My dogs eat pure meats, not that kebble crap.. I couldn't feed my dogs healthy if i had to pay for meat... But, in this day in age, it is kind of embarrassing getting confronted.. That's why i am slowly stepping back from it... It was like uneasy livin a Lavish lifestyle, and I didn't neccesarily need all that.. But it is nice.. And it would be even better to help others out... Thanks for trying to do the right thing.. Don't be offended by anyone.. Just know that some of the most intelligent, riches people dumpsterdive,etc.. How do you think they stay rich? Good ole' fruit and orchards forum huh, that's funny...

Good luck,

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 11:08PM
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Raw_Nature(5 OH)

I just don't want it to look like it's all just about produce,. There are tons of other, much more polluting things companies throw out(toys,machines,whatever).. If you are just trying to save pollution - don't go for the plants that are going to deconpose and creat rich soil. Go for the metals, plastics, the machines that are going to make soil toxic... Your kind of fighting a losing battle though.. It's sad to say, in this day and age, but it's only about the 1% of people actually doing this... Just like only one percent of people eat a pure diet... Kind of the same thing... I have gotten toys for kids, and even unopened juicers and office chairs(missin a wheel),etc.. I probably saved a couple thousand doing this for the couple monthes I been doing it... Now, just to make it more relevant for this forum.. On of my stores around here, has a plant sale(blueberry,grapes,black/raspberry).. Some employees are ignorant, they look at the dormant plant and think it's dead... I'm just waiting to snatch up a couple hundred bucks worth of plants, that would otherwise be composted... You always have to be careful! Different area have different laws,etc... It could possibly be very dangerous... Trust me...


    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 11:27PM
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    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 11:42PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

I worked in a kitchen for a few years...you'd be amazed at the waste... Its really sad. A lot of good stuff was tossed.

Even here at home we throw a lot of stuff that goes bad, but i always compost.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 11:56PM
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It's worthwhile to check into local charities....

While in College - I was a member of a charity that would pick up the food products like you are talking about and deliver them to local food banks, homeless shelters, soup kitchens and the like....

Typically - all they need is the help to do it.

To give you an idea....
I had a pickup truck at the time... I would meet up with the store or kitchen manager - and they would literally overflow my truck with prepared food, canned foods, bread, fruit, and all sorts of things like this.... I then delivered it to a designated place.... All of this was set up by the Charity - but they just needed the help with drivers willing to donate their time and fuel to do it.

Poke around - you will probably find something.... If you don't initially - go talk with your local Salvation Army, food bank, or Catholic soup kitchen and explain that you want to volunteer and what you want to do.... You would be surprised that they will frequently already have contacts set up - they just need help picking up all the food...


    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 8:54AM
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Well, not all stores and not all products. The store I work in is reasonably large (50,000 square feet, 100+ employees) and we throw away as little as possible.

Produce donates all useable food to one of three shelters, except that the bakery gets their bananas. Meat does not donate, but all scrap is picked up and reworked by a service for non-human use. Deli probably discards some, but those rotisserie chickens are chilled and sold cold or used to make enchiladas. Bakery may grind scrap for crumb cake or crumb cookies, but primarily donate (about three grocery carts/day) to food bank/shelters. Dented cans and broken boxes, pasta bags and the like get returned to the warehouse for "reclamation". How they deal with them I don't know, but they find it worth their while.

There's also a program in some areas called "Second Harvest", which picks up useable discards and distributes them. I understand that one of the new "natural" chains, may be Whole Foods, is contemplating spinning off a seconds store.

So I think there's hope. With people pushing for salvaging useable leavings as you are there's hope that some of the waste will be curtailed. Good luck to you.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 9:00AM
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The laws must really vary by locality... and what stores are willing to allow must vary as well.

In New Hampshire my favorite store was a discount grocery that sold past or almost past date food and other grocery store items for ridiculously cheap prices. Obviously the consumer had to take responsibility for his/her choices.

Isn't that how it always used to be? Are Americans too stupid to do this for themselves anymore? Oh yeah, I forgot that we only buy things that look perfect after traveling thousands of miles but taste like crap!

Anyway, I have yet to find another similar store anywhere, but wish I could, not only for myself as a way of getting things cheaper, but also as a means of curbing some of the waste...

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 9:07AM
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Stores can't take back perishable goods, usually because of health laws. They don't know where it's been/what you did with it, how long it's been sitting in a trunk or whatever.

They toss a lot of stuff that is past the sell by date, because the have to, not because something is wrong with it. I saw one grocery in ATL (Krogers) would drastically cut back the price of items approaching the sell by date, to get people to buy them. Most stores don't care, would rather throw that stuff out and sell you the new product at full price. I'm guessing that local store had a manager who didn't like to see waste..

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 12:47PM
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"I'm guessing that local store had a manager who didn't like to see waste."

melikeeatplants, I think you're probably right. They apparently also got deals on bulk stuff that was approaching the sell by date, or maybe things that were being discontinued or from a store that had gone out of business.

Of course there was a disclaimer posted at the entry and on every receipt excusing the store from all responsibility for spoiled items, etc..

New Hampshire is a pretty alternative-minded state when it comes to certain things...

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 3:47PM
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I get great buys at the swap meet from produce sellers who go to the LA produce wholesalers and get the imperfect and ripe produce. You have to use it right away or freeze it but the taste is good and the seller will let you taste it before you buy. Someone is trying to get a program started that buys imperfect ( usually thrown out) produce from farmers to feed school kids. I can't remember which congressman it is but it's a great idea for his state schools. I like to buy at the farmers market on Sat as well and I always get good buys on great tasting fruits there.

I had a job at a housewares store. If sheets,towels or blankets got returned even if they looked new, we were told to cut them in half. I cut them in two pieces so one of the pieces was nice and large then left them out in a clean box behind the store . We had to cut the cords on perfectly good lamps and destroy so many good and useful things. It made me so angry. We took everything back because that keeps customers happy even if it drives up store prices for everyone else.

I bring my own small containers in a pretty bag to dinner and take half my dinner home for later. The server stares but who cares. I'm not letting that good food go in the trash. I can't understand putting whole chickens in the trash. Those could be frozen and put to a good use. I saw a little boy buying a small package of ramen for his lunch the other day and I almost cried. I would support any store that sold good food at a low cost to feed hungry kids like that.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 7:04PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)


You do understand. Everything must destroyed before it can be thrown out. The dumpsters are not anything that one could dive into, and they have security cameras on all the trash.

I will give Foodbank of the Rockies a call and see what can be done. Maybe it's true that they lack volunteers to pick up the food. If so I think I will try to do this.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 10:23PM
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It really is true... They just lack people to go get the stuff... Trust me - I did it for 2 years....

Part of the deal is that the store can write stuff off as "Charitable Donations" and get tax breaks... This is SIGNIFICANT rather than writing it off a straight business losses.... We are easily talking tens of thousands of dollars...

BUT... They gotta have proof that it's going to a bona-fide charity that is properly accredited as such....

So for example - you sign up with the charity... you get a badge and some credentials... and then you sign on the dotted line at the store that you got the stuff...

This isn't just supermarkets... I used to pick up loads of cooked food from Resturants all over town and carry it to St Francis House (A Catholic soup kitchen) and to the Salvation Army... Hundreds of pounds of food each day!

Dig around. You will find it.... There really is a need... It doesn't all have to go to waste...


    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 11:43PM
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