On average american restaurants throw away 6,000 tons of food — daily. Some restaurants such as T.G.I. Fridays do not throw away this much food because they have a menu section labeled, “Right Portion, Right Price” which helps to limit portion size to what you will actually consume. Unfortunately, 25% of the food that we bring into our homes is not eaten — it just goes to waste.
In South Florida, the number of local restaurants donating leftover meals has more than doubled, because of a state law passed in 2008 that protects food donors from lawsuits linked to prepared foods. Places like Chipotle, Starbucks and The Cheesecake Factory are packing up food left over at the end of the day for agencies to pick up. It’s safe to eat, but near expiration or not fresh enough to sell.
In 2006, a study initiated by the California Integrated Waste Management Board showed that over 50% of waste from restaurants comes from food (in fast food restaurants) and over 65% (from full service restaurants).
Studies conducted by the state (of California) have shown that more than 6 million TONS of food are dumped each year by farmers, restaurants, and supermarkets in combination.
Self report from a former supermarket employee says that he used to be forced to throw away 10 lb hams that “weren’t even touched” equaling easily 50 lbs of food per night!
When I was younger, I worked at Panera Bread. The company also donated food to local organizations at the end of the night – but only baked goods. Any fresh produce or meat had to be thrown away, and with their stringent rules on food quality, this unfortunately ended up to be a good amount on some days.
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