Whilst conducting her research in public interviews to explore climate change scenarios, Zoe has come across some interesting and zany approaches to help tackle the problem of food wastage in the UK. Some are blatantly commercial apps and others are the result of community minded individuals getting together and ‘doing their bit’. We have listed below each of these approaches together with a short description.
‘Our mission is to place the lost value back onto food as something that should be eaten and not thrown away. Through the TGTG app we’re raising awareness of food waste by making surplus food available for collection before a store closes its breakfast, lunch or dinner service’.
Simply, restaurants and fast food outlets can sell off waste food – that would otherwise go into landfill – to consumers, who would pay only approximately £3 for the meal. The app is free to download and the London office of TGTG administers the transaction and sends out biodegradable take away containers. The consumer just shows the payment confirmation to the restaurant and collects the meal at a given time. TGTG take £1 admin cost per transaction, with no joining fee.
OLIO is a free app connecting neighbours with each other and with local shops so surplus food and other items can be shared, not thrown away. The app shows distances between fellow users. This could be food nearing its sell-by date in local stores, spare home-grown vegetables, bread from your baker, or the groceries in your fridge when you go away. For your convenience, OLIO can also be used for non-food household items too.
What is a community fridge?
The Community Fridge is not a wholly new idea: the UK’s first community fridge was launched in Frome in 2016, to remarkable success. Since then, a 12-month trial by Sainsbury’s in Swadlincote has further demonstrated the efficacy of sharing surplus food. During the trial, food sharing initiatives such as a Community Fridge and the food-sharing app Olio, showed huge promise with residents sharing the equivalent of over 10,000 food items. Brixton also has a successful community fridge.
Cambridge Sustainable Food has recently launched a community fridge, located in the Edge cafe on Mill Road: funded by Sainsbury’s, this fridge will help to simultaneously reduce food waste whilst also providing a source of food for those who require it – and who knows, maybe it will strengthen the community spirit on the side as well!
Anyone can put good but unwanted food into the fridge, or take it out to take home and eat. The fridge will be monitored to make sure nothing is kept past its use-by date, and to make sure nothing inappropriate gets put in the fridge.
FoodHub gathers professional food buyers, wholesale producers, distributors and industry suppliers in one dynamic community. It was started in America and currently has nearly 7,000 members. It is starting to appear in the UK now.
Food cycle a national charity that combines volunteers, surplus food and spare kitchen spaces to create tasty, nutritious meals for people at risk of food poverty and social isolation.
Below is a quote from the website of Transition network:
‘Faced with uncertain energy prices and climate change, our response is to build a stronger, more versatile community – a community with the capacity to adapt to whatever happens and where we can be happy and healthy. Making better use of local resources also means saving money – by growing more of our own food and by reusing and adapting stuff instead of throwing it away’.