The Spanish city of Girona has decided to lock supermarket rubbish bins to stop people scavenging for food.
Products past their sell by date are thrown away at the end of the day and then taken and eaten by hungry people.
The practice has increased since the Spanish economy began to unravel.
There are 1.73 million households in Spain where all eligible workers are unemployed.
Xavier Llompart, who works for the Comebal supermarket chain, said: “There are a large number of perishable products that are thrown away and are then eaten, they are the products that the people are looking for.”
The move is not as mean as it first appears, officials said that there are health risks involved for those who eat from the bins and the practice causes social alarm.
A system has been introduced that will direct those without food to distribution centres where they will receive a food basket containing essential items.
Spain has been hit by two recessions in four years and unemployment there is currently around 25 percent.