Supermarket employee raises concerns about store policy after sharing photo of trashed food: ‘It should be donated’

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Bread. Wasted.

Those two words, posted above a photo of a pile of plastic-wrapped loaves in a Safeway dumpster, have sparked outrage across Reddit — and for good reason. Unfortunately, the incident is far from isolated.

What’s happening?

The poster, presumably a Safeway employee, shared the photo with Reddit’s r/Safeway community. The photo shows numerous packaged loaves of bread piled high in a large dumpster, apparently thrown out by a Safeway grocery store.

The post has generated several shocked and angry comments.

When edible food gets thrown in the trash, it's not just a tragic waste of sustenance.
Photo Credit: Reddit

“Unless this is rock hard or moldy; it should be donated,” one user wrote. Others called for stricter laws against food waste and recommended the company donate surplus bread to food banks.

Why is food waste concerning?

When edible food gets thrown in the trash, it’s not just a tragic waste of sustenance. Discarded food that ends up in landfills releases methane, a potent pollutant, as it decomposes.

In fact, according to Economist Impact, if global food waste were a country, it would be the third largest producer of air pollution after China and the United States. At the same time, millions suffer from food insecurity — an issue heightened by the impact of extreme weather events, such as hurricanes and heat waves, on agriculture.

Is Safeway doing anything about this?

Safeway’s parent company, Albertsons, says it has made strides in recent years to minimize food waste across its stores. In 2021, the company claims to have donated over 200 million pounds of food to hunger relief efforts since 2011 through its foundation program Nourishing Neighbors.

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However, as this photo shows, there’s much more work to be done to ensure good products aren’t mindlessly tossed. It’s possible this was a one-off incident at a single location. Still, if even one store is trashing this much bread, it points to major gaps in Safeway’s food waste prevention policies.

What’s being done about food waste more broadly?

The good news is that the fight against food waste is gaining momentum. A growing number of grocery stores are partnering with apps like Too Good To Go and Flashfood, which let customers buy surplus products at a steep discount before they spoil.

Some states are passing laws that make it easier for retailers to donate unsold items, while also pushing businesses to compost what can’t be eaten. Globally, some countries have pledged to halve food waste by 2030 as part of the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals.

As for what you can do, plan your grocery hauls and meals to avoid overbuying, and freeze or repurpose foods before they go bad. Compost fruit and veggie scraps if possible. Also, consider “ugly” produce that might otherwise get passed over.

No one should go hungry while good food goes to waste. With a little creativity, we can make sure a lot more bread goes into bellies, not bins.

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