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Fast Food Waste Management

Updated on October 7, 2014

"Wasted" food prepared in excess

Waste, not meaning garbage but waste meaning food prepared in excess which has an expiration time, once the food item has reached the final stage of preparation before placed on a tray for in house dining or in a carryout bag to consume elsewhere. For example, a restaurant like McDonald's cooks to order nowadays as many of its competitors, so years ago, a certain amount of burgers and salads were prepared ahead of time to meet the demand for their product. Typically, after 10 minutes, a completely prepared burger has expired and is considered and counted as waste. A pot of fresh brewed coffee would have had an expiration time of 1 hour after completely brewed etc. If a customer orders a specially prepared burger, chicken or fish sandwich, those special instructions are sent to a printer in the grill area and the item is then prepared. Say that customer is not satisfied, returns the item to the cashier for a remake of whatever sandwich is was. The discarded, and completed sandwich is counted as waste and tossed in a bin, or not counted at all and just tossed in the garbage container nearest the employee that received it from the customer.

The Issue of Being Less Fortunate

So again the question of whether a restaurant can give their "waste" to the less fortunate comes to my attention daily. Contrary to popular belief, there are some people out there who have lost everything due to a death of a loved one or caregiver, lost wages or like a small population of people, evicted due to a landlords negligence in keeping up payments of property taxes leaving tenants unaware that the property has foreclosed and they are forced onto the streets without notice or time to save necessary funds to move on. Not all homeless or less fortunate people on the streets are addicted to drugs or alcohol, using their daily handouts for such. They are grateful for the help they do receive from generous people, driving or walking by that are willing to help them. So why can't a restaurant that serves billions of paying customers a week to a month across the globe, allow one day at least to donate already prepared discarded fast food to a person in need?

Production of Waste at a Glance

Fresh produce, such as tomatoes, green bell peppers, lettuce, jalapenos, olives, pickles, banana peppers, and cucumbers are prepared in excess and discarded daily.
Fresh produce, such as tomatoes, green bell peppers, lettuce, jalapenos, olives, pickles, banana peppers, and cucumbers are prepared in excess and discarded daily. | Source

Consider This

According to, on average, a restaurant can produce 150,000 lbs. of garbage a year and also points out the fact that there tends to be more waste than otherwise considered as waste before the consumer chooses not to eat a thing. Food can also be prepared incorrectly and is discarded because it doesn't meet the specifications required by health organizations or the restaurant corporation on preparedness. However, tax deductions in these matters have been considered as far as donations go but when and where are those donations when people are posted right outside a restaurant door, hungry and would take anything a kind person could spare. Food for thought, of that reported 150,000 lbs. of garbage that restaurants are producing, not all of it is paper or boxes and wrappers that the food is shipped in to be prepared. The bulk of waste weight is "wasted excess of prepared food".

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