France figured out how to make its grocery stores feed even more people.

It's a first for Europe — and a smart example for the rest of the world.

What happens to the apples that no one buys at the grocery store?

You've been there: looking at apples (or other produce) and examining what's in front of you before deciding on "the one." The first apple you grabbed wasn't ripe enough, and the second one had a weird shape. The third was too mushy. But that last one? It was perfect. Into the cart and on you go.

But what happens to the apples and the other food you didn't buy — and no one else did either? Too often, that perfectly good, unsold food ends up in the trash.


That'll soon be changing in France.

All of the apples by Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images.

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

Instead of discarding food items that are approaching their sell-by date, French supermarkets will be required to donate the food to charities or to turn it into animal feed or compost.

On the heels of the Paris climate change agreement, France is hoping to find a solution that helps the hungry while also helping the environment.


Image by Francois Nascimbeni/Getty Images.

Many families in the world struggle to find food to eat. France is said to throw away almost 8 million tons of food every year, and grocery stores are a big contributor. Between people being picky about the aesthetics of their food, overstocked shelves at the store, and sell-by dates that don't actually mean that much, there is room to explore how to keep more food in tummies and less in the landfill.

"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, one of the legislators who framed the law, told the Telegraph.

Photo by Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images.

The law, which passed on Dec. 10, 2015, will make it possible for charities to have access to more edible food, like crates of yogurts, that would otherwise be destroyed. It'll target stores with retail space of over 4,300 square feet (so ... big ones) and is expected to go into effect once the Senate votes on it in early 2016.

The initiative won't just feed people. It'll also make the environment happier.

According to the United Nations, if wasted food became its own country, it would be the #3 contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the entire world. That's pretty wild when you think about it. Throwing away leftovers or seeing food in a grocery store's dumpster doesn't seem like that big of a deal until you see what it's doing on a global scale.

The United States should take note: We waste enough food to fill a 90,000-seat football stadium every single day.

Enough to fill the Rose Bowl stadium in Pasadena, California ... every day. Photo by Ken Levine/Getty Images.

Yes, just let your head wrap around that for a second.

We're throwing away more than one-third of all the food that's produced in the country every year. Consumers do play the biggest part in that food waste, but grocery stores are responsible for throwing away 10% of it. We're using as many tricks as possible to reduce the waste, but there's more that can be done.

France is setting a strong example of legislators from both sides of the aisle working together to solve some of the biggest issues of our time.

It's easy to think of many world issues as separate, but that's not always the case. The connections between hunger, poverty, food waste, and climate change show that simple solutions can be found all over — even in an apple bin.

Most Shared
via The Epidemic / YouTube

There are few people on planet Earth that know what it feels like to be bullied quite like Monica Lewinsky.

In her early 20s, she became the focus of one of the biggest scandals in American history after engaging in a sexual relationship with former president Bill Clinton.

She was the butt of nighttime talk show jokes, harassed by politicians, and constantly pursued by the paparazzi. Twenty years later, she's survived the scandal and become a tireless advocate for helping those who've been bullied.

Keep Reading Show less
popular

The great thing about American democracy is the separation of powers. The federal government has rights, states have rights, counties have rights, cities have rights, and we, as people, have rights, too.

Heck, even animals have some rights in the good ol' U S of A.

The president of the United States is not a king or a dictator so a team of U.S. mayors, led by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, are asking to go over his head to negotiate directly at next month's UN climate change conference in Santiago, Chile.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Facebook / Amanda Williams

It can take time to feel comfortable in a new home, especially if you think there are scary monsters lurking about, which is why six-year-old Hayden Williams had trouble sleeping in his new room.

Hayden used to share a room with his 15-year-old sister, but when the Eldridge, Iowa family moved, each kid got their very own. While his sister was excited for the change, Hayden was having a hard time adjusting to the new arrangement.

"My little man has been having severe anxiety since we moved into the new house…I've tried everything under the sun to get him to sleep in his own room. Nothing is helping," his mom, Amanda Williams, wrote on Facebook.

Keep Reading Show less
popular