California food banks struggle collecting leftover food amid high gas prices

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KABC) -- A law took effect in California in January 2022, requiring stores and restaurants to donate leftover food.

So far though, it's proving easier said than done.

The goal is twofold -- to feed hungry people, and to counter climate change by reducing methane emissions from all that food rotting away in landfills.

The problem is figuring out who is responsible for reclaiming the leftovers, and how to pay the costs of doing so.

Regional food banks are doing much of the work, but that has been made more difficult by soaring gas prices.

"Our main goal here is to distribute as much food as the area needs," said Butte County Community Action Agency's Tom Dearmore. "That always takes more money, and the more we have to spend on fuel, the less food we can buy. It's pretty cut and dry."

It will likely be up to local governments to develop food recycling programs.

The ultimate goal is to recover 20% of leftover food by 2025.

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