When food is going bad, you throw it away. At holiday dinners when your eyes are bigger then your stomach, the scraps go in the garbage. It might not cross our minds how much food we waste at home, let alone how much is thrown away on a commercial level.
For those reasons, one group in the U.K. recently opened its first food waste supermarket.
Food charity The Real Junk Food Project (TRJFP) allows customers to come and shop for food that would otherwise be thrown out by supermarkets and restaurants. Located in a warehouse near Leeds, which is about 200 miles north of London, shoppers “pay what they feel” in either money, time or skills for food.
“Salvage” grocery stores have existed in the U.S. for years, providing shoppers with deeply discounted items that are nearing or past their expiration date. (TIME put together a helpful list of salvage grocery stores across the U.S. back in 2009, so while all the venues may not still be in business, it’s a helpful place to start.)
This isn’t the first time TRJFP has tackled food waste. Co-Founder Adam Smith set up the global initiative in 2013 with food waste cafes as a way to keep good food out of landfills. TRJFP follows one simple manifesto: feed bellies, not bins.
Smith was an international chef for a decade and while cooking around the world he realized how much went wasted.In the UK alone “7 million tonnes of food and beverages is thrown away.” The first year TRJFP started 10,000 people were fed from their cafes. After that moment, Smith decided he wanted to open a warehouse in every city in the UK and also feed the world.
“Pay as you feel isn’t about getting a free meal it’s about valuing people and the food, resources and time that took creating it,” said Smith.
The food comes from various places including supermarkets, food banks and local markets. Often, people throw away food because of supermarket expiration dates, when in reality that food may still be fine to eat.
Food waste market isn’t just for people struggling to put food on the table; it’s a place for everyone wants to take a stand against food waste.