by Paul Alan Piatt
Urged on by an unusually animated Governor Brown, California state legislators passed new legislation aimed at reducing food waste at eateries across California. Dubbed the “No Calorie Left Behind Act” (NCLBA), this legislation aims to eliminate restaurant food waste in California through a combination of compulsory participation and aggressive enforcement.
“Every year, Californians discard nearly 200 trillion tons of food, much of which releases methane as it decomposes, exacerbating global warming,” declared the governor at the signing ceremony. “This must end!”
Partly inspired by the success of California companies “upcycling” waste food products, the NCLBA is a multi-pronged effort aimed at every step of the restaurant food chain.
Restaurants are now required to offer at least 20 percent of their seats at no charge to area homeless/elderly/low income (HELI) people and serve them leftovers taken directly from paying customer plates. Diners who choose take-out or delivery options are required to host one HELI person per three servings for the course of the meal.
“This new law is great!” declared ‘Smokey’, a homeless man living in the no-camping zone along the American River in Sacramento. “I haven’t had to pick hairs or rat turds out of my food for days now, and the days of me passing out in a dumpster and getting compacted are over.”
All remaining food waste is placed in specially designed bins and collected for additional processing into edible products intended for schools and prisons.
“Preliminary analysis shows the NCLBA is a resounding success,” reported Anita Burger of the state health department. “Waste collection companies are reporting little to no food waste in their scheduled collections, California’s homeless population is well on the way to being the healthiest in the nation, and Californians of all types are really connecting over shared meals at home and dining out.”
As with any government program designed to improve the lives of Californians, the NLCBA has right-wing critics. “Why does this new law exempt cafeterias operating in California government buildings?” demanded one protester who asked to remain anonymous. All of the protesters interviewed were ignorant of California’s “HELI-Free” policy for government buildings.
“The success of NCLBA shows what Californians can do when forced to work together,” read part of a statement from the governor’s office. “I’ve ordered every state department to review their areas of responsibility to see where additional measures can be taken. For example, we’re currently evaluating a proposal to require hotels to fill beds to capacity before booking additional rooms. This is just one of many examples of how the California government seeks to serve our citizens, the nation, and the planet.”