Isn’t that too good to go?
I have to say, my neuroticism about food waste has probably helped me to get more creative in the kitchen than any single other source of inspiration. Some of my all-time favourite food pairings, driven by my determination to not throw away uneaten food, include (but are certainly not limited to): pasta with tahini, sweetcorn with curry sauce, bananas and peanut butter.
Whilst this “neuroticism about food waste” and “creativity” could and should probably be better translated as “being cheap,” I’m confident that my personal food wastage footprint is relatively small.
A visualisation from Love Food Hate Waste (2016) that really resonates with me is that if everyone in the UK were to stop wasting food that could have been eaten, the benefit to the planet would be the equivalent of taking 1 in 4 cars off the road. And whilst it’s often easier to blame big businesses and companies for their landfill contribution (along with everything else) almost 50% of the total amount of food thrown away in the UK comes from our homes. That’s 7 million tonnes of food and drink every year, more than half of which could have been eaten. To speak in individual teams, the average family would save £700 a year, simply by throwing away less food.
But with demanding jobs, families and personal commitments, it’s so important that any steps we try to take to combat this issue are easily-integrated and innovative. One area that I’d like to explore in more depth is technology, and specifically apps. I’ve come across some really innovative solutions that I’m keen to share!
Too Good To Go
To Good To Go is a (free!) app that we can all get excited about. Their mission is to place the lost value back onto food as something that should be eaten and not thrown away. With it, users can find food from nearby restaurants, cafes and bakeries as they close their breakfast, lunch and dinner services. For as little as £2 – paid cashless, directly through the app – you can enjoy a delicious and professional dish that was about to get swept into the bin!
According to their website, to date the company has saved 8,500 meals, has 200 restaurant partners, and has avoided 17 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
Olio (also free…) is another app which also aims to connect those with surplus to those who need it. It allows individuals to connect with neighbours and local shops in their community so that surplus food can be shared, not thrown away. Users simply snap a photo, add a brief description and provide pick-up details.
I was exploring the app last night and was delighted to find a house around the corner with far too much home-grown fruit and veg for them to possibly eat themselves, so will definitely be going knocking one day soon…
Winnow, which has already been widely adopted by some of the top restaurants in the business and is now looking to adapt its tech to our homes, is probably the simplest of the three ideas.
It is effectively a smart weighing scale that sits under your bin, allowing cooks to record the volume of waste they’re throwing away, as well as to track the kinds of foods that they discard the most using a simple touch screen. What’s more, it also puts a value in £ on the discarded food, giving people greater visibility and awareness of the issue – one of the key drivers of behavioural change (#HKSmarter).
So why not download one of free these apps to start saving the planet and your weekly Big Shop bill?