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Less Overflow Food Good For Landfill, Bad For Hungry Arizonans

A recent study from Johns Hopkins University highlighted just how many important nutrients necessary for a healthy diet end up in the landfill every single year. And that thought led us to think about how that might affect St. Mary’s Food Bank, which gathers and distributes food throughout Arizona.

Grocery rescue plays a major role in how food banks distribute to clients in need, but the model of how these nonprofits operate has changed drastically over the 30-plus years they’ve been in service.

Efficiencies at warehouses and packaging plants means there’s less overflow food to send to charity, campaigns about purchasing “ugly” produce are educating consumers about their options, and standardizing “sell by” dates on cans and packages means less still-fresh food is thrown away.

This is great news for the landfill, but is it bad news for hungry Arizonans?  Jerry Brown is director of media relations at St. Mary’s Food Bank.

Steve Goldstein was a host at KJZZ from 1997 to 2022.