Opinions

Wasted food put to purpose

Photo by Brooke Hovey

Photo by Brooke Hovey

The year started off poorly with people losing their jobs, the rising cost of produce and the passing of David Bowie.

Perhaps France’s newly introduced anti-waste legislation is the positivity we need in 2016.

The policy, which has been in discussion for roughly one year in France, was put in place on Feb. 3.

It requires supermarkets to donate food that is no longer fit for sale, yet still remains edible, to be donated to a charity or food bank

Food that is no longer suitable for human consumption would be sent to farms for use as animal feed or compost.

Minus the potential for animals to be given questionable meals, this sounds like a grand idea.

According to Shawna Ogston, a communications and media relations specialist for the Calgary Food Bank, Canada is not far behind.

“It can only benefit everyone,” said Ogston.

While Ogston believes this issue is something that will come to pass, she is uncertain of when, and she hopes only to ensure the food banks shelves are full in the mean time while simultaneously minimizing food waste.

A 2013 report by the United Nations states that roughly 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted every year. It doesn’t take a mathematician to realize that this number is far too high.

These levels of unnecessary waste have lead to a small community of people who look to garbage bins as a source of food. So if the disposed of food is good to eat, it should simply be donated.

If only it were that simple.

A common worry is who will transport the food to the charities and food banks. Moreover, who will pay for the
transportation?

The legislation in France will require supermarkets to make donation contracts with a charity or food bank if they wish to avoid a fine.

In addition to the contracts, it will also be the food bank’s responsibility to collect the food from said supermarket.

This could lead to a bit of a problem. Many charities in our country rely on volunteer work.

While the majority of volunteers are happy as clams to help, not all will be reliable.

For example, let’s say there’s a man named Joe who volunteers at a food bank. Joe also works full-time and has a family.

Joe is supposed to deliver the food to the food bank, but his son becomes sick at school and Joe must go.

While this example is over simplified, something similar is bound to happen.

But this minor setback could easily be remedied by having responsible people overseeing the transportation, which should be the case when the legislation makes its way here.

Ogston believes there would be no pitfalls with the introduction of this law, as there would be no shortage of planning and preparation.

Minus any potential drawbacks people may find, this legislation will still provide more food to those who are in need while simultaneously reducing food waste.

It seems things truly are looking up for 2016.

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