This blog posting represents the views of the author, David Fosberry. Those opinions may change over time. They do not constitute an expert legal or financial opinion.

If you have comments on this blog posting, please email me .

The Opinion Blog is organised by threads, so each post is identified by a thread number ("Major" index) and a post number ("Minor" index). If you want to view the index of blogs, click here to download it as an Excel spreadsheet.

Click here to see the whole Opinion Blog.

To view, save, share or refer to a particular blog post, use the link in that post (below/right, where it says "Show only this post").

Students fined for stealing supermarket waste!

Posted on 20th November 2019

Show only this post
Show all posts in this thread.

I was shocked and outraged by this recent news story on the BBC.

Two students in Olching, near Munich, were caught by police, taking waste food from bins outside of a supermarket. The police made them put the food back, and they were subsequently fined.

At root is the question of what constitutes property. The court insisted that, even though the waste food was destined for disposal, it is still the property of the Edeka supermarket (the same chain as the one we shop at in Haidhausen), and that taking it therefore constitutes theft.

The thing is, Edeka pays for the food to be taken away, so it doesn't just have zero value, it has negative value (i.e. it is a liability). In my opinion, anything that has a value of zero or less cannot be considered property, unless it has some sentimental value, and the students were doing the supermarket a favour by taking it.

There is also a discussion in the news piece of the enormous problem of food waste: about 30% of all food for human consumption is thrown away, and no-one seems to know what to do with it. For an answer, maybe people should look to Britain during the second world war. Imports were few and far between, food was rationed, and people were encouraged to grow vegetable, to keep livestock (chickens and pigs) fed on waste food, and to feed pets on waste food. My grandfather did all of those things during the war, and continued to keep chickens until the day he died.

I understand that many people nowadays live in apartments rather than houses, and thus have no gardens, but our apartment building has room for a chicken coop, and there could aalso be municipal gardens/farms dotted around cities, where people could take their waste food. I, for one, would be more than happy to take a walk to such a site, every couple of days, to recycle food waste.