Who Are the Worst Food Waste Offenders?
by Limus Woods
I remember when I used to work at this very popular, nationally-known country buffet down south. I won’t say the name of the restaurant chain, number one, because I’d be incriminating myself for theft, and number two, they might want to sue us or something if they read this article, and I don’t want to cost Stuart any money for legal fees and shit…. seeing as how he’s already broke-ass.
I worked as a waiter at the time, and I was always amazed at how so many people would pile up so much food on their plates at the buffet, bring it back to their table, and then not eat it. I swear, I think I could have filled up the back of a U-Haul truck every evening with the amount customers wasted on my shift. At the end of the night, it was worse. All the freshly cooked, untouched food that was left on the buffet (macaroni and cheese, fried chicken wings, ham, roast beef, cakes, etc.) had to be thrown away in the back dumpster at the end of the night. Most nights, that was more than half a buffet full of good food! I was like “Hell, naw, I’m taking this shit home. They’re making us throw it away anyway…”
One of the supervisors told me that we weren’t allowed to take any food home after our shifts, that it was restaurant policy. But then, one night after we’d cleaned up, I caught his fat ass sneaking full fucking Saran-Wrapped Styrofoam plates of food from the buffet into the back seat of his car, just as I was about to toss an entire trash bag full of food into the dumpster.
I looked him dead in the eye while he was in the act, and in those few seconds he knew he was busted. I didn’t tell on him, but every shift after that I was taking orders from my next door neighbors on my cell phone for huge plates of food I brought home…ten bucks a pop! What was he gonna do to me after getting caught red-handed himself? I didn’t give a fuck about making shitty tips anymore after that, not with almost another hundred bucks that I made in cash off their food every night.
When it comes to food, America is the most wasteful place in the world. In fact, studies show that food is the thing that takes up most of the space in our landfills. According to one 2018 report from The Guardian, we toss out about a pound of food per person every day, which comes out to about 150,000 tons every 24 hours.
That’s ten tons heavier than a blue whale…fifty tons heavier than a one story house!
Main Offenders of Food Waste
Remember on the movie Friday (1995) when Ice Cube’s character, Craig, poured an entire box of cereal into that huge bowl, then realized there was no milk left? After that one dribble fell out of the carton onto his breakfast, he was about to throw the entire bowl of cereal in the trash, that is, before his father, Willie Jones (played by comedian John Witherspoon, R.I.P.), stops him, screaming “Hey! What are you DOING?”
“I’m throwing this away,” said Craig. “We ain’t even got no milk…”
Mr. Jones gave him a crazy look and said “You better put some water on the damn shit!”
Craig’s is the attitude about food that a lot of younger people have today when compared to their parents and grandparents, and that’s why the younger generation are the most wasteful group when it comes to food, according to experts.
And it’s not just kids, teens, and young adults in the United States. One publication in the UK reported in 2017 that 92% of people surveyed had responded honestly to their poll study, confessing that they frequently threw out good, edible food. But, the study also showed that over 50% of them said they felt a guilty about it.
Still, young folks aren’t the only group that wastes a lot of food; health nuts do too!
They fill up their fridges with all those fresh, perishable items, but it ends up being too much for them to eat, and the food goes bad before they can get to it. “Higher quality diets have a greater amount of fruits and vegetables, which are wasted in greater quantities than other foods,” University of Vermont’s Meredith Miles told The Loop magazine.
So, the next time a preachy vegan points out your burger is bad for you, feel free to look them right in their face and say “At least it’s not going to waste!”
So, What Business Wastes the Most Food?
Grocery stores. In fact, the top ten largest ones don’t even report how much they throw away, so they actually waste way more than we think!
The Center for Biological Diversity did an analysis, and 90% of stores surveyed failed to report excessive food waste to the public. The center gave out letter grades to all ten chains, but not one received an A.
Wal-Mart came the closest, with a B for the three categories each store was graded on (which were Recovering & Recycling, Prevention, and Accountability of food waste).
Ahold Delhaize, U.S., Kroger, and Albertsons Companies all got a C… and the five D grades went to Target Stores, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods Market, Costco U.S., and Publix. The grocery chain with the worst score of F, Aldi Stores, got only 2 points out of the possible 20 for both Accountability and Prevention, and a pitiful 3 points out of 20 for Recovery & Recycling.