Australian Charity Donates Uneaten Airplane Food to People in Need

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Around one-third of the world’s food produced for human sustenance is wasted—and this problem extends to the friendly skies. Passengers often don’t touch their in-flight meals, which land in the garbage after the plane lands. To cut down on waste and help people in need, ABC Brisbane reports that a charity called OzHarvest Brisbane has partnered with several airlines flying in and out of the state of Queensland, Australia, to collect uneaten sandwiches and snacks. They then send the goods directly to more than 800 charities, free of charge.

Founded in 2004, OzHarvest Brisbane collects unwanted food from more than 2000 Australian organizations—including grocery stores, hotels, wholesalers, and business events—then gives it away. According to The Telegraph, the organization recently expanded their scope to include airports.

On average, OzHarvest Brisbane collects between 400 and 900 pounds of untouched food per day within the Brisbane Airport precinct alone. Each day, the charity sends one or two vehicles out to collect the goods, which often come from canceled or delayed flights. Within two hours of picking the food up, it's sent to a social welfare institution. A lot of the meals are unopened entrees from first class, OzHarvest employees say, but almost anything that isn’t consumed on an airline can be repurposed if it’s not spoiled, and if it's encased within a sealed packet to meet health and safety requirements.

The charity also helps airlines track how much (and which types of) food goes uneaten, and when, so that they can stop providing passengers with excess food. In the future, it wants to sell uneaten hot airplane meals through airport terminal food vendors, since these dishes are reportedly more difficult to load onto and off OzHarvest’s collection vehicles.

The company has reportedly delivered 50,671,401 meals to social aid organizations. “We plan on reducing food waste by 50 percent by 2025,” OzHarvest founder Ronni Kahn told reporters. “That's the goal.”

[h/t ABC Brisbane]

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