A recent viral video featuring a Target dumpster brimming with perfectly good food and drinks has ignited a significant online discussion about food waste and corporate policies. The video was originally posted on TikTok by an account dedicated to dumpster diving, aptly named “Love in the Dumpster” (@loveinthedumpster). In the video, the freezer malfunction at Target was immediately evident as the dumpster was filled with items like Simply Lemonade, Tropicana Orange Juice, and Califia Farms Iced Coffee.
As the TikTok account owner, Love in the Dumpster, scavenged these items, they meticulously checked the expiration dates and even tasted samples to ensure they were still safe for consumption. Surprisingly, they were all still good, raising questions about the massive waste.
In the comments section of the video, many users pointed out that store policies, such as those at Target, often dictate the disposal of items once they have reached their “sell by” date or if refrigeration equipment fails. The fear of potential liability lawsuits drives these practices, according to one commenter. The prevailing sentiment was that it’s better to discard the items rather than risk a lawsuit from someone who might consume them.
However, a few respondents emphasized that businesses that choose to give food in good faith are protected by law. This implies that companies can make a positive impact on decreasing food waste and addressing hunger challenges without taking unnecessary risks.
In the US, where millions of people—including children—face starvation, food waste is a serious problem. According to Feeding America, food insecurity affects over 34 million people. Simultaneously, an astounding one-third of the nation’s food supply is wasted as a result of loss or waste, which exacerbates the ongoing hunger crisis and environmental issues.
The Target dumpster video and the online discussion that followed made clear how much better business and policymakers need to be doing to combat food waste. It is possible to strike a compromise between the requirements of food safety and waste reduction, as demonstrated by the numerous grocery stores that have previously made news for giving unsold food to people in need. This instance is not an unusual one. Such initiatives can significantly reduce both food hunger and environmental damage, offering a mutually beneficial solution for all parties.