These First Responders are Rescuing Food

As farms and restaurants close, organizers are mobilizing to make sure the food left behind gets to where it’s needed most.

In the best of times, the United States wastes 40 percent of its food annually, amounting to about 63 million tons. The collective response to the coronavirus pandemic, from panic buying at grocery stores to restaurant closures, is bound to inflate that percentage, food loss experts say, at a time when food insecurity is on the rise.

The biggest source of food waste in America is households, where produce wilts, milk spoils and leftovers lurk at the back of the fridge until they are tossed. Now, anxious consumers who have been hoarding food may discover there’s no way they can eat everything they’ve bought. Says Frank Franciosi, of the U.S. Composting Council, “We may see municipal curbside collection of food waste go up as more people eat in or take out.”

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