Ever wonder what happens to unsold food at your favorite supermarket? Unfortunately, it usually gets tossed in the trash. However, there is still hope to be had; a newly passed French law has something big to say about diverting supermarket food waste, and it’s worth listening to.

As the first country IN THE WORLD to “ban supermarkets from throwing away or destroying unsold food”, France leads the way in opposing supermarket food waste, while simultaneously providing an anti-poverty solution. The law, unanimously passed by the French senate this year, requires that unsold food must be donated to charities and food banks, thus providing a sustainable and financially friendly way towards zero waste. Perhaps even more inspiring is that millions of free meals can now be given out to those who are struggling to eat, thanks to that extra food uptake by French charities. The new law has been met with enthusiasm from food banks, who are happily taking on more volunteers and storage space to accommodate the tonnes of food they have coming their way.

“Jacques Bailet, head of Banques Alimentaires, a network of French food banks, described the law as “positive and very important symbolically”. He said it would greatly increase an already emerging trend for supermarkets to donate to food banks.

4784“Most importantly, because supermarkets will be obliged to sign a donation deal with charities, we’ll be able to increase the quality and diversity of food we get and distribute,” he said. “In terms of nutritional balance, we currently have a deficit of meat and a lack of fruit and vegetables. This will hopefully allow us to push for those products.”

What’s more is that the collected food distributed by charities must be handed out with “dignity”, which means that “the food must be given out at a proper food bank or centre, where human contact and conversation is fostered, rather than, for example, simply organised as handouts on the street.”Derambarsh, however, who is a municipal councillor for Courbevoie about 5 miles north of paris, isn’t finished with excess food just yet.“The next step is to ask the president, François Hollande, to put pressure on Jean-Claude Juncker and to extend this law to the whole of the EU. This battle is only just beginning. We now have to fight food waste in restaurants, bakeries, school canteens and company canteens.” In addition to reducing waste, less food in the trash can drastically reduce the amount of co2 emissions produced. According to a new report published in 2015, “Avoidable household food waste in the UK is associated with 17m tonnes of CO2emissions annually.”

As a win for the environment, as well as a win for charitable organizations and those they benefit, we hope that everyone can take a page from France!

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