This Group Delivers Uneaten Airplane Food to Those in Need

© Shui Ta Shan / Getty Images

By Gillie Houston Posted July 26, 2016

Sandwiches, apples, cookies and muesli bars are among the 400-900 pounds of food the group collects from the Brisbane Airport daily.

Ever wonder what happens to all of that uneaten airplane food you and your seatmates couldn't quite stomach on your last flight? One Australian charity is working to make sure that those meals go to the hungry, rather than the trash can.

OzHarvest Brisbane coordinates with airlines that fly to and from the Australian hub to repurpose untouched snacks and first-class fare into meals for the city's needy. Sandwiches, apples, cookies, and muesli bars are among the 400-900 pounds of food the group collects from the Brisbane Airport daily. According to ABC News Australia, OzHarvest was founded in 2004 and collects food from a variety of commercial companies—including airlines—to provide support to more than 200 charities across the country.

"Pretty much everything on an airline is something we can redistribute, as long as it's still in a fit state to eat," says Cameron Hickey, a manager at the organization's Queensland location. Often, that means meals from flights that were canceled or delayed, or packaged snack items that were handed out but not opened. "There's many delicious meals in first class that aren't eaten," adds Hickey.

In addition to helping local charities feed those in need, OzHarvest's airport project has also been helping the airlines themselves. The organization keeps careful logs of the quantities and types of food being tossed out by the airlines, and reports them back to the companies. "With that many of the airlines have seen a drop in excess food and are tightening their food waste," says Hickey.

While no similar programs have hit American airports yet, it's easy to see that an organization like OzHarvest's presence could go a long ways towards curbing the United States' $160 billion a year waste problem http://www.foodandwine.com/fwx/food/half-us-produce-never-gets-eaten-says-report.

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