France has passed a bipartisan bill that effectively bans grocery stores from throwing out unsold food.

French supermarkets are now required to donate food that is approaching its sell by date to charities, turn it into compost or animal food, rather than just throwing it away. There has been a lot of reports highlighting food wastage, with France alone throwing away 7 million tons of food each year! This is a massive figure and shocking when we consider how many families in the world struggle to find anything to eat.

“Today, when a supermarket like Carrefour finds even a tiny fault with a crate of its branded yogurts, it sends the whole batch back to the dairy producer, which is legally obliged to destroy the lot even if it is all of excellent quality,” Guillaume Garot, a Socialist MP who helped frame these new measures told The Telegraph.

Passed on Dec. 10, 2015, this law will give charities access to more edible food, like crates of yogurts, that would otherwise be destroyed. The law will specifically target stores that have a retail space of over 4,300 square feet, but smaller stores are encouraged to join the initiative as well. The senate will vote to out this into effect in early 2016.

This law won’t just feed people, its great for the environment too!

Food Wastage is incredibly hazardous to the Environment as well, leading to greater use of chemicals such as fertilizers and pesticides and more fuel used for transportation, on food that is just thrown out! On top of this, rotting food creates more methane – one of the most harmful greenhouse gases contributing to climate change. Methane is 23 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas.

And check out this fact from the United Nations Environmental Programme:

Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year — approximately 1.3 billion tonnes — gets lost or wasted.

One third. Of all Food. That is crazy! In the United States alone the value of all food thrown away or lost amounts to US$48.3 billion, with half the amount of all water used to produce this food also going to waste.

We need to change the way we look at food!

The facts above are pretty shocking, so when we look at a country like France bringing in such a positive change, we can hope that others will follow. In the UK, the  government has a voluntary agreement with the grocery and retail sector to cut food and packaging waste in the supply chain. However, there are no mandatory targets or laws to protect these agreements.

Sometimes we forget, or take for granted, the ease in which we have access to food in developed countries. Across the world, many people fish everyday to just survive and you can only imagine their thoughts on the sheer amount of food we waste every day.

France is setting a strong example; now it’s up to us to follow!

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