GENESEE COUNTY (WJRT) -
(08/31/14) - We've all heard the saying 'One man's trash is another man's treasure,' but how about if that "trash" would prevent people from going hungry?
One midwest man is finding he doesn't need to pay a dime for food. He can find all he needs and more in grocery store dumpsters.
He's riding his bike across the U.S. to raise awareness about the amount of food thrown away - and getting it to those who need it most.
Rob Greenfield is on a dumpster diving mission to spread the phrase "donate, not dump", encouraging grocery stores across the country to donate food that may be past it's prime, but is still perfectly good to eat.
"Every year, we throw away $165 billion worth of food, or about 50 percent of all the food we produce," he said. "Nothing is trash until you make it trash. But just because it's been in the dumpster, let's say this was on the shelf and it was sold for $3, but then they put it in the dumpster and now all of the sudden it's valueless. Now all of the sudden it's worth nothing. No, it's still worth the same amount. It's good food that should be given to people in need, no question about it."
So are the stores worried about donating food that's past the best by date? Greenfield says they don't need to be. Not only are they protected, but some food banks will still take food past the sell by date.
"They're protected by the Good Samaritan Food Act, which waves liability for grocery stores and restaurants when they donate food to nonprofits and food banks," he said.
He also noted that after diving into over 500 dumpsters, he's never gotten sick or in trouble.
"The police came, I told them what I was doing. Long story short, within a half hour they were shaking my hand, telling me that they were happy that i was raising awareness about this issue," he said.
As far as how good the food tastes?
"Here's the key word, 'best by Aug. 29, 2014.' It doesn't say 'expired,' it doesn't say 'bad after,' it literally just says 'best by.' So that means that after that, it's just not at it's absolute peak freshness," he said.
Greenfield will even do all of the dirty work.
"You can simply go in the grocery store and ask, 'Hey, are you donating foods to non-profits?'" he said.
Now, as Greenfield continues his travels to Detroit on Friday, he challenges you to contribute - asking you to take pictures of the food waste you find in store dumpsters, send it to social media and encourage the store to donate.