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lexico
09-06-05, 14:51
Japan's convenience stores waste tons of food (http://mdn.mainichi.co.jp/news/archive/200506/06/20050606p2a00m0dm011000c.html)

One convenience-store chain in the Kanto area checks for expiry dates three times a day, at 12 a.m., 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Items such as rice balls and sandwiches that are fresh for 24 hours or less are thrown out if they come within two hours of their use-by limit. Bread whose expiry date is set several days away is discarded 24 hours before the expiry date, while milk is thrown out four days in advance.

In this way, stores designate "pull dates" for various products. Little difference is seen between major convenience store chains.

"We do this because we're taking into consideration the period in which the products will actually be consumed after they are taken home," explains an official from the Kanto convenience store. As a rule the store is not permitted to discount products approaching their expiry date in the same way as supermarkets do.The convenience stores have been applying a stricter standard of supplying fresh foods by discarding perishables before the expiration dates, not after. While the disease preventive policy must have kept the customers happy and healthy, the costs or wastefulness of it must be borne by someone; the management or the customers.
"In the dozen or so years this store has been running, we've never sold all of our packed lunches," the head of the store says. It's because the store stocks up about 10 percent more goods than it expects to sell.

"We don't want to throw stuff out, but customers will desert us if we run out of stock," the store official says. It seems that this harsh view by consumers is creating a mountain of garbage.If pampered customers and the combinis' willingness to please lie at the base of the problem, why is the combini whining about its reason of being ? It would be nice to find better ways to prevent waste, but if one were found, it would probably go to fattening the combini industry. How about quick freezing the nearly-expired food stuff and donating them to a food drive for the starving people anywhere ? Quick dry/purify for longer storage as nutirients with longer expiration dates ? In a way the rendering / live-stock feed business has been partially recycling useable organic wastes, but the outdated recycling system has also been criticized for its shady practices of unsanitary, substandard processing, raising serious concerns about the 2,000 some products employing such rendered ingredients, jelly candies being one of them.
"The food can still be eaten and I think it's really wasteful," confesses the head of the store. "We hear that there are lots of starving children in the world, so can't anything be done ?"

Figures released by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries show that about 600,000 tons of unsold food from retailers such as convenience stores and supermarkets nationwide was created in fiscal 2003. Roughly calculated, this food could fulfill the dietary requirements of about 3 million people each day.

"While convenience stores do offer convenience, we have thrown out a lot of products, Takeshi Niinami, president of the Lawson chain of convenience stores, placed second in Japan, tells the Mainichi. "We've got to change this system that is producing a flood of waste."

Last year, Lawson stores threw out 40 billion yen worth of expired food products, exceeding its working profit in fiscal 2003 of about 36.6 billion yen. "It's time to think seriously about cutting waste," says Niinami.

Japan, the country that came up with the word "mottainai," meaning "wasteful" has about 40,000 convenience stores nationwide. Products are supplied day and night. On the flip side of this convenience is a mountain of wasted food. As Japan looks to the future, calls for store operators to start fighting this wastefulness are rising.A more equitable food consumption across the world not only involves investment and development, but the uneven profits concentrating around the richer countries, and around the powerful (& corrupt) leaders of the struggling countries. When enough of the underdeveloped 3rd world is indeed developed, and the job markets are scalable wherever one lives, will the former citizens of the 'Western' countries be ready to accept a less profitable economy in comparison ? Just as the move from plundering the billion-year-old reserve of fossil fuels towards a sustainable, sun-based energy consumption pattern is one long, struggling process for anyone used to the cheap fossil fuels, the peaceful transition to a more equitable world economy will not be an easy one for all involved. Let's hope that charity for the time being can feed and save enough lives.

Iron Chef
10-06-05, 18:34
I agree, does seem like an awful waste of perfectly good product. A shame some other alternative can't be reached.

digicross
11-06-05, 23:43
They literally throw them away?

Why not put on a special sale on them? Or maybe also give them for free (a 'free, please take one' sale) to people who want them?

I find it that it's not very profitable at all to just throw away all of those things.

Unfortunately though, if some people who worked in these convenient stores decided to sell or at least give away these foods or even eat these foods themself, they probably will be labeled as corrupt, criminal, greedy, and so on, then they are thrown into jails.


Personally, from the look of the article, the problem seems to be more of over-production and over-stocking. It can be easily done by lowering down the amount of foods produced and stocked, to make sure that only a suefficient amount food produced to be stocked and then consumed. No less, no more.

Unfortunately, it would never happen, at least under current situation. Since the food industry are told to over-produce and over-stock, they are told to do so in order to make humans to do more than they are needed to do so.



As for expiry date.

It's only a rough calculation. Foods sometimes can be consumed even after they past their expiry date, foods sometimes can't be consumed at all even before their expiry date.

That depends on the situations the foods are in.



As for hungry people.

Well... There are many hungry people around the world, some even with adequate resources but unable to get food (like the food store is closed during midnight).

While it's nice to think about them, I think for this so called 'wasteful' technique, the focus should be to on how to use all of these resources efficiently, and not about the hungry people. The problem is over-production and over-stocking, not a bunch of hungry people.



As food distribution.

Actually, the people from rural area are more likely to be able get food quickly than the people in the cities. Due to the fact that many foods are produced in rural area.

It's more likely people will get hungry more at the cities than at the rural area.



As for fossil fuel.

Burning dinosaurs?

Were dinosaurs really that cheap to use as fuel? I thought that museums would pay a lot to get dinosaurs.



As for sun energy.

Er... Humans have been using sun energy for thousands of years in many different kind of forms.

duff_o_josh
14-06-05, 16:14
As for fossil fuel.

Burning dinosaurs?

Were dinosaurs really that cheap to use as fuel? I thought that museums would pay a lot to get dinosaurs.

:bawling: :clueless: :bawling: ^brainé═üH^

it is a shame that convinies waste so much food here in japan but they really are convient unlike stores in north america.

lexico
14-06-05, 16:50
I love the word plays you played; it's what makes us human, and you seem to enjoy it as much as I do. I'm sure some of us can appreciate the unique humor in it. :-)
As for fossil fuel.

Burning dinosaurs?

Were dinosaurs really that cheap to use as fuel? I thought that museums would pay a lot to get dinosaurs.Yes, in a way, if we can use the word dinosaurs to represent geological remains that retain a high ratio of hydro-carbon content. For example

1. crude oil is one kind of fossil fuel. From animal planktons ?
2. coal is another kind of fossil fuel. From ferns of the geological period ?

Often times miners find fossils embedded within natural coal, but there's so many that one finds. In certain areas, there are so many fossils that cracking open rocks or bedrocks will often produce fossils. They are not a rarity as one might think. As for brontosaurus or tyranosaurus rex being part of crude oil, I believe there is a possibility as them also being trapped in the geological layers, decomposed, and contributing to the hydro-carbon gumbo soup we call petroleum, although compared to the planktons the ratio would be negligible, maybe less than 1% ? ;-)
As for sun energy.

Er... Humans have been using sun energy for thousands of years in many different kind of forms.Well, with the exception of

1. potential energy from falling objects such as meterorites
2. geothermal energy rising thru the earth crust, volcanoes, plated junctions, and onsen
3. artificially created nuclear reaction

all useable energy comes from the sun, some being stored in photosynthetic plants with chlorophylls. We only get so much each day, and that stored in plants and animals we eat sustain us day by day. That stored in the fossil fuels accumulated from billions of yrs ago are what we normally call fossil fuel.

Because we have been plundering the billions of years of sun linght stored in the fossils and burning them all at once, we may have the illusion that we have a huge, cheap energy source. How wrong we are !
When we use them all up, we will scratch our heads and ask, what happened ? Why is life so hard for us ? Just to keep warm, we may have to huddle up with our worst enemies so as not to freeze to death. ;-)

So you do have a point; we have been using sun light for sun bathing, drying the fish and laundry. Sterilizing, whitening, heating.
But with the discovery of fire and controlling it, we have entered a uniue age of energy usage; burning recent sun-light (wood, grass, paper) --> old sun-light (coal, petroleum).

Duo
14-06-05, 17:11
I think this problem can be easily solved, i mean y not have some kind of beneficial group thing come pik up the food and give it the homeless and what not or to a shelterless center or smth of the type

lexico
14-06-05, 18:19
Yes, that's the idea. I think the whole idea of dumping the expiring food is both a genuine disease prevention plan, a marketing gimick, and a serious effort to prevent any lawsuits that might arise from food poisoning.

That being said, I wonder if a black box with dry ice can be left in front of the combinis, and the expring foods can be dumped into it for organized theft. That way, the combinis are free from litigation, and the "fresh food" corporate image can be preserved. The Robing Hood team can sneak around collecting the black boxes while eveyone is looking away as accomplices. But the shady organization need some under-the-table sanctioning from the justice dept. just to be safe, without getting the combinis involved. Complicated ? Who said life was easy ? Food Robing Hoodlums for the Starving Mass Unite !

Matadon
14-06-05, 18:33
That being said, I wonder if a black box with dry ice can be left in front of the combinis, and the expring foods can be left there for organized theft. That way, the combinis are free from litigation, and the "fresh food" corporate image can be preserved. The Robing Hood team can sneak around collecting the black boxes while eveyone is looking away as accomplices. But tghe organization need some sanction from the justice dept. just to be safe, without getting the combinis involved. Comlicated ? Who said life was easy ? Food Robing Hoodlums for the starving mass unite !

This makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

Truth is, in EVERY first-world country, you see this sort of behavior -- American and European supermarkets do pretty much the same thing, and if you look into the skips behind a supermarket, you will see tons of perfectly good food, thrown out. It's the price of having fresh food at any time of the day.

I think that the best solution would be to have a company that turns this waste into compost, and resells it back to the farmers as organic fertilizer. That way, there isn't any real 'waste' from a biological perspective, and you might be able to produce some energy (methane gas) from the process as well.

Duo
14-06-05, 23:46
I think the best solution is to give to people who are starving, there is plenty of compost out there, but not enough food for the starving ones

Matadon
15-06-05, 20:59
I think the best solution is to give to people who are starving, there is plenty of compost out there, but not enough food for the starving ones

And the economic incentive for packaging this stuff up and flying it to Where The Starving People Are Located is what? Because doing that would be bloody expensive, and I can't see a combini chain eating into their already slim profit margins to pull that off. Of course, on its own, feeding the hungry would be a totally useless business venture, and there just aren't enough philanthropists in the world to go through the trouble of packinging up combini food, getting it out of Japan, and getting it to the hungry.

It makes more sense to just grow food someplace cheap (like the U.S.) and ship it overseas, rather than trying to 'recycle' waste food in such a manner.

bossel
16-06-05, 00:19
And the economic incentive for packaging this stuff up and flying it to Where The Starving People Are Located is what?
There are poor people even in Japan, they could use it. In Germany the stuff is collected by non-profit organisations & distributed among the poor.



It makes more sense to just grow food someplace cheap (like the U.S.) and ship it overseas
Actually, that makes only sense in situations of acute danger of starvation. Overall, it's better to help countries which face hunger crises to grow the needed food themselves.

Duo
16-06-05, 00:23
Yeah, exatcly my point, I mean they are throwing it out, so some kind of organization can come who provides food for the poor and what not could come and pik it up at the store, no hassle for the store at all :)

budd
20-06-05, 22:20
i enjoyed this, although i strongly feel that our country is generally more wasteful than even tokyo will ever be
there are no recycle receptacles outside any of the gas stations where i live
what is more wasteful/worse for the environment? biodegradeable food or styrofoam/plastics with a half life longer than humans? (i know the answer already, but i thought it sounded cool to ask :))
thanks for posting

jarvis
20-06-05, 23:20
maybe if the rest of the countries develope a capitalist system like Japan and the US...they might have more food than they know to do with too...

Duo
21-06-05, 03:09
maybe if the rest of the countries develope a capitalist system like Japan and the US...they might have more food than they know to do with too...


Can't really be like that, someone must be poor so that Japan and the US and the West is rich, if emerging countries gain wealth, that wealth will be lost from the ones who have it, therefore is not about capitalism and what not, simply who is able to gather more resources