Edeka supermarket sets up expired food section

Edeka supermarket sets up expired food section

At one of its branches in Lower Saxony, Edeka has now set up a section where supermarket customers can pick from expired goods to take home for free - saving them from the bins out back.

Edeka giving away expired food for free

Edeka is one of Germany’s biggest supermarket chains. Now, one of the company’s branches in Ösnabrück in Lower Saxony has carved out a section of its shop for expired foods which customers can save from the bin and take home for free.

The so-called Goldene Tonne (Golden Rubbish Bin) stands by the checkout and is packed with dry goods that would normally be sent straight to the bins out the back of the shop. A fridge sits in the spray-painted bin where customers can pick up fruits and vegetables that are past their best but still good for making soup - or just need some unwelcome soggy bits chopped off before frying up. For a lucky customer, there are a few out-of-season chocolate snowmen too.

The manager of this particular Edeka, Guido Gertmann, also collects leftover greens that customers can pick up and feed to their fluffy companions at home. Gertmann is indebted to his daughter for the Goldene Tonne idea and sees his shop as setting an example for others.

“The most important thing is to get as many businesses as possible to stop throwing things away,” Gertmann told broadcaster NDR. “And if everyone puts a rubbish bin like this in front of their door there is no need for [rubbish] containers anymore.”

Germany set to decriminalise dumpster diving

In Germany, around 11 million tonnes of food is thrown away each year. Dumpster diving or “containern” is still illegal in Germany, so anyone courageous enough to sneak around the back of the supermarket to save an abundance of vegetables risks being arrested or fined.

But that is set to change. Based on policy coming from the state of Hamburg, Cem Özdemir (Greens) and Marco Buschmann (FDP) are planning to reform the rules around containern across Germany, whereby dumpster divers could only be arrested or fined by police if supermarket property was damaged in the process.

"Anyone who saves food from the garbage can should not be prosecuted further for doing so," Özdemir told Deutsche Welle last month.

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan

Editor for Germany at IamExpat Media. Olivia first came to Germany in 2013 to work as an Au Pair. Since studying English Literature and German in Scotland, Freiburg and Berlin...

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