Fighting Food Waste With Apps

931 million tons of food are wasted every year. That’s  what the UN Environment Program  estimates. Of course in view of world hunger that figure may have moral and ethical implications. But it also has environmental ones, because that amount of waste represents about 8 to 10% of global carbon emissions. 800 million people go to bed hungry each night while a third of the world’s food is wasted. Food waste costs the world about a trillion dollar a year, and that’s why several governments are introducing policies to tackle it.  Doing something about food waste is on the agenda of  several countries, of policy makers, organizations, activists. And now as part of these efforts there are smart phones apps which facilitate sharing, and giving food so that it does not go to waste. These apps are meant to help shoppers, food manufacturers, grocery stores and restaurants cut their food waste. In the process they can help many.  They exist in several countries, and it seems the US is lagging behind.

Olio is an app began by two young mothers, one brought up on a British farm, the other in Iowa. The app is simple to use. The user posts a picture of what is to be given away, and selects  what geographical areas  it is to be posted in and how it is to be picked up. When someone responds, their profile can help sort out who they are so that the giver can make a choice if necessary. Other apps are Tekeya in Egypt where stores and  manufacturers sell at half price what they would throw away , which benefits both them and the consumer. Too Good To Go is another British app where people buy at great discounts a kind of mystery bag from restaurants and stores and are in for a surprise as to what the bags contain.

How often have I wished for an app like Olio. Maybe you have too.

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