On Thursday, France’s parliament unanimously approved a new law prohibiting large supermarkets from throwing out unsold food, instead mandating stores donate any surplus groceries to charities or for animal feed use.
The law, which aims to reduce waste in a country where people trash up to 30 kilos of food per person annually, is part of a more general energy and environmental bill.
“There’s an absolute urgency—charities are desperate for food,” MP Yves Jégo said. “The most moving part of this law is that it opens us up to others who are suffering.”
The new regulations will also ban the common practice of intentionally destroying unsold food by bleaching it—a process meant to prevent people from searching for food in dumpsters, which has lead to lawsuits after people became sick from eating spoiled food.
Now, the local politician who sparked the law’s creation is hoping other countries will adopt similar bans on supermarket waste. Arash Derambarsh, who slammed such bleaching practices as “scandalous” to the Guardian, will take his campaign to a United Nations’ summit discussing ways to end poverty this November.
In the United States, nearly half of all food goes uneaten and sent to landfills.