A post in the r/Anticonsumption section of Reddit sparked outrage online after the logic of one business didn’t seem to be, well, logical.
“No food is free! If we have food left over it will be thrown away, so DO NOT ASK IF YOU CAN HAVE IT,” read a sign pinned to a display case in the post. “Any food taken out of this store [without] being paid for is theft and will be presented as such to law enforcement! Mgmt.”
Not only do the sign and policy seem unnecessarily harsh, but food waste is a considerable problem that affects our health and the environment on many levels.
In the United States, the equivalent of 149 billion meals end up in the trash annually as millions go hungry, according to Feeding America, while the World Wildlife Fund notes that around 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted globally — “enough calories to feed every undernourished person on the planet.”
As all that food begins rotting in landfills, it produces polluting gases, including methane, which is 28 times stronger than carbon dioxide.
Both types of gases have contributed to the overheating of our planet. The rising temperatures have then set off a sort of domino effect — negatively impacting crops and increasing the range of disease-carrying insects, among other things.
Many people have begun composting as an eco-friendly way to repurpose their food scraps, saving money on products like garden fertilizer in the process. Retail stores, including Kroger and Trader Joe’s, have previously gotten props for giving away or donating food that would soon go bad amid power outages.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has processes to ensure the safe handling and disposal of edible goods, but many Redditors in the comments section seemed to believe that wasn’t a factor in this situation.
“What a way to stop people doing business with you. If I see this on your screen, I am never buying from you, ever,” one Redditor wrote.
“Treat your employees with some decency, and they’ll likely do the same for you,” another said.
“I work for a grocery store chain in NZ that almost never discards food. Every department has protocols to ensure that unsold food is still safe to eat … and it’s collected every day by a Food Rescue charity who distribute it to food banks,” one Redditor shared.
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