Help Cut Down Food Waste

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The Problem:

"Food waste is now the No. 1 material that goes into landfills and incinerators."

A single restaurant in the U.S. wastes about 100,000 pounds of food a year, according to the Green Restaurant Association. Restaurants should partner with local food banks to donate the food waste to people in need.

Most restaurants are hesitant to donate their food waste because of fear that they will be sued. Passed in 1996, the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act protects restaurants from civil and criminal liability should a recipient get ill or hurt as a result of consumed donated food.

Interestingly, there is no available public record of anyone in the United States being sued because of harms related to donated food, according to Nicole Civita, a professor and director of The Food Recovery Project with the University of Arkansas School of Law and assistant director of the Rian Fried Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems at Sterling College.

Restaurants are uniquely positioned to simultaneously tackle the countries food waste and hunger issues. In the U.S. up to 40% of food goes uneaten. Last year, 1 in 6 households didn't have enough money for food. Yet, even with the protections in place and the vast number of groups that pick up and deliver excess food, many restaurants will still rifle off a host of reasons that keep them from participating in the rescue effort.

The Establishments Doing It Right:

Bon Appetit has 650 cafes nationwide and donated more than 286,000 pounds of food last year.

What We Want:

We are asking every restaurant, especially chains, to join with food banks such as Food Lifeline, We Don't Waste, or any local food banks to donate food that's about to be wasted. Collaborating with established food banks will make the donation process seamless so that every restaurant can give away excess food without any hassle. With recent famines around the world, there is absolutely no excuse to waste anymore food.



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