Femke from Eindhoven is angry about good food thrown away by Flink, a delivery company. Several times a week, she gets bread, fruit and other products such as Mars bars from a weelie bin next to the store. The products are almost past their sell-by date, or on the date, but still of good quality. “There are people who can’t afford their groceries and these companies just throw it into the trash.”
“This is the catch of one round to the wheelie bin,” says Femke. Her table is full of bread, apples, tangerines and Mars bars. There are boxes and boxes full of food but this was all that would fit in her bag. “There’s a lot more,” she says. “And that makes me furious.”
She made her discovery around the Easter weekend. Walking past a Flink branch on Frederiklaan in the city centre, she saw a delivery man dumping the contents of his pink bag in the wheelie bin. That made her angry.
The delivery man says that ‘this is done on the boss’s orders’. Later, Femke confronts a Flink supplier with this statement. To her surprise, he agrees with the story. “Of the six crates I deliver here, two disappear into the bin,” he says.
Since then, Femke has walked past the infamous Flink-bin a number of times a week. She sometimes pulls out boxes of bananas, kiwis, loaves and apples. “I take everything to my neighbour, who knows people who can’t afford groceries themselves.” Or she puts the products in so-called neighbourhood cabinets, distributed throughout the city. People with a tight wallet can help themselves to some groceries for free.
It upsets Femke that Flink handles the products in this way. “Something has to be done about this,” she says combatively. “This makes me really sad.”
What can be done?
While she is making another round of the garbage can on Sunday afternoon, the filling crew leader of the branch walks up to her. The branch is equally familiar with the problem. “We often have double loads here, so we also have to throw away a lot.” And he’s sick of it, too. “We’re trying to do something about it and are already working with an anti-waste app, but that doesn’t solve everything.”
“I understand that they can’t just give everything away, especially products that are past the date”, Femke concedes. “But this is just way too much.”
The manager of the branch says he is open to talking to the concerned Femke. “That’s nice, because this really can’t go on any longer,” she says. “It’s nice that they want to talk, but I still want to see some outcome. This needs to be solved”.
Edited and translated by: Shanthi Ramani and Greta Timmers