Sustainable America Blog

Watch: Rob Greenfield’s Campaign Against Grocery Store Food Waste

Rob Greenfield's #DonateNotDump campaign


After bicycling across America last summer rescuing food from supermarket dumpsters, activist Rob Greenfield is continuing his #DonateNotDump campaign. His goal is to inspire consumers to ask grocery stores to donate edible food to people who need it instead of throwing it away.

His new three-minute video shares highlights of the food he found and the news coverage he got throughout his journey.

It’s disturbing to see all the perfectly good food Greenfield was able to find in every city he visited — from mountains of fresh produce to a case of hot sauce that was thrown out because one bottle broke. Unfortunately, his finds are just a small sliver of the $165 billion dollars worth of food that gets wasted in the United States per year.

Greenfield is hoping to clear up the misconception that grocery stores can be at risk of being sued for donating food to non-profits. Here’s what he says in his blog post about the video:

“Grocery stores may tell you that they can’t donate because they fear liability. This is either a lie or ignorance. Grocery stores are protected from lawsuits by the Good Samaritan Food Act, which was passed in 1996. This act Protects businesses from liability when they donate to a non-profit organization and protects them from civil and criminal liability should the product donated later cause harm to the recipient. Furthermore a University of Arkansas study has shown that not a single lawsuit has ever been made against a grocery store that has donated food to a food rescue program. The law is on the side of the grocery stores to donate.”

To be fair, there are many grocery stores that already donate food to charities, but as long as good food is being wasted while people go hungry, it’s not enough. Momentum is building for solutions to the problem. France passed a law earlier this year that requires supermarkets of a certain size to donate unsold produce to charities. Europe could be next. Bans on food waste in Massachusetts and Vermont are resulting into more donations to food banks.

Greenfield is optimistic about positive change, as well: “I believe that we are at a tipping point for ending food waste and with citizen action we can solve this,” he writes. “The excitement inside me tells me that my generation will drastically reduce food waste and hunger in our time.”

To learn more about the extent of food waste in America and get tips for reducing it, visit our I Value Food campaign.

Amy Leibrock
Blog Editor

RELATED ARTICLES
Quiz: How Much Food Do You Waste?
Food Waste in 9 Cities, Exposed
“We Survived on Discarded Food for 6 Months”

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By the Numbers

Currently 50 million households suffer from food insecurity, meaning that family members cannot always meet their basic food needs.

10 million people a year could be fed through the recovery of just one-fifth of food waste.

Only 2% of food waste is composted or otherwise recycled—62% of paper is recycled.

Consumers throw out about 40% of the fresh and frozen fish they buy.

The U.S. produced 208 pounds of meat per person in 2009—60% more than Europe.

Low income commuters spend a much higher proportion of their wages on gas—8.6% versus 2.1% at $4 per gallon.

Food prices rose 35-40 percentage points between 2002–2008.

Americans consume 25% of the world’s produced oil, but our nation holds less than 3% of the world’s proven oil reserves.

The International Energy Agency says greenhouse gas emissions rose 3.2% last year, with a 9.3% increase in China offsetting declines in the US and EU.


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