A recently founded supermarket, based in Sheffield, is aiming to improve food waste reduction in the unlikeliest of ways: rescuing food from bins. Their methods not only aim to help save the planet, but also help households suffering most from austerity. A painfully surprising amount of still good-to-eat food is thrown into bins, headed for landfill. This poses a serious problem, as rotting food produces a large amount of methane into the atmosphere. Methane is known as one of the largest causes of global warming, just like carbon dioxide.
The supermarket claims there are two main reasons for people choosing to their food source over other options. The first one is the large choice of veg and fruit crates available, with the second being a ‘pay whatever you feel’ policy. Many a waste management company would support this idea coming to fruition elsewhere, as long as people purchasing the food don’t mind the catch. With the catch being: all the food salvaged is from leftovers from restaurants and supermarket bins.
This idea, named the Real Junk Food Project, is one that is helping food waste reduction massively (approximately saving 6 tonnes of food waste from landfill every week), as well as helping households with their food waste management. Not only is it helping large families, but also pensioners and millennials.
So, what sort of quality food can people expect from the supermarket? As the stock sold is from chain supermarket bins, the food supplied can often be past its best before date, along with slight brown/bruised edges on various fruit and veg. Shoppers can even expect dented tins for sale. A waste management company would unfortunately find these reasons for throwing food all too common. Moreover, this doesn’t have to be reality, as long as if humans did what they always had to before shopping conveniences: smell and look at food to see if it’s good standard.
Another real issue with food waste reduction is outlined in the UN’s figures that over 1 million tonnes of food is wasted every year, with 800 million people remaining malnourished. What inspired the Real Junk Food Project is this issue being paradoxical, as farmers feed edible human food to animals instead of typical feed, when it could be provided to those in dire need.
It would be an extremely beneficial reality if this idea took off nationwide and even worldwide. As it would seriously help people in poverty and those who need support with their food waste management, as well as the environment. However, there are some legalities surrounding the practice, particularly with what the best by date label is; though no one has yet to have fallen ill through eating food supplied by the supermarket.
Some analysis has been released in recent years, suggesting the dates on some fresh food products are arbitrary, therefore there to scare consumers into buying more and more often. This obviously doesn’t help consumers with their food waste management tactics, due to feeling the need to throw out food products when they’re still absolutely fine to consume.
Keeping the above in mind, many a waste management company have too been trying to tackle the food waste problem, just like this project has recently. Hopefully, by creating more awareness of the issue, and making the public aware of the project, it will support in rectifying this increasingly pressing issue.