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June 08, 2015

Companies Ramp Up Food Giving as Mass. Clamps Down on Waste

Hundreds of Massachusetts businesses and institutions are donating food that in the past went into dumpsters or compost heaps as the state implements new restrictions aimed at reducing food waste and feeding the needy, reports The Boston Globe.

Regulations enacted last year prohibit commercial organizations from disposing of more than a ton of organic waste per week. While the leftovers can be used for livestock feed or energy production, state officials say helping the hungry is the top priority.

Companies such as Whole Foods and biotech firm Genzyme are ramping up or launching food-recycling programs, turning over unused but still-edible food from shelves and cafeterias to nonprofits for food pantries, school meals, and other programs. Advocates say the state effort will also ease pressure on landfills — food is the biggest source of garbage in Massachusetts — and reduce greenhouse gases emitted by rotting food.

The former president of the Trader Joe's supermarket chain opened a nonprofit grocery store in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood last week that is supplied by donated food, public radio station WBUR reports. The Daily Table sells the surplus and aging foodstuffs, largely provided by wholesalers and supermarkets, at a deep discount.