Many grocery stores in North Carolina are working toward this by taking steps to reduce the amount of food waste that ends up in landfills.
Chapel Hill Planning Manager for Sustainability John Richardson said local governments in North Carolina do not regulate the management of supermarket waste. Grocery stores are responsible for enacting their own conservation and redistribution policies.
“Each of our local grocery stores has policy related to food waste diversion,” Richardson said. “Policy tends to focus on food waste from the hierarchy of: Can it be reduced? Can people/animals be fed from it? Can it be composted?”
Earlier this year, France passed a law that made it illegal for supermarkets to throw away edible food. Instead, supermarkets are required to enter into contracts with food banks to redistribute the food to the hungry.
Much of the food that goes unsold each day or reaches its expiration date is still safe to eat. The Harris Teeter in Carrboro partners with an organization called Inter-Faith Food Shuttle to redistribute edible expired foods.
“They give us produce that at the end of the day has gone unsold, and then we turn around that same day and redistribute it to our partner agencies that feed the hungry,” said Cindy Sink, spokesperson for Inter-Faith Food Shuttle.
Scott Riley, the general manager at Harris Teeter in Carrboro, said food must pass a standard in order to be redistributed.
“There are certain criteria about expired food,” Riley said. “It depends on what it is; if it’s bakery goods or sweet goods those go, but if it’s something that’s more critical that could be a health issue, those things are recycled.”