3 apps tackling food waste in restaurants
Since joining the Monkey Wrench team, I have learnt so much about the climate crisis. I always thought that travelling by car or plane was the worst thing you could do in terms of environmental damage. While I now understand that transport definitely is a huge problem, I had no idea of the impact that our food industry has on the environment. So, I started to wonder, what can I do to help?
The shocking truth of restaurant food waste
The UN Environment Programme states that one-third of all food produced in the world – approximately 1.3 billion tonnes – is lost or wasted every year. Globally, if food waste could be represented as its own country, it would be the third largest greenhouse gas emitter, behind China and the U.S.
This statistic blew my mind.
As someone who has never travelled by plane and made the decision to sell my car in favour of walking, car sharing and public transport – I always thought that my carbon footprint must be pretty low. As a vegetarian since birth and now a vegan, I considered my diet to be one that’s much more in harmony with the environment. Yet, when I learnt of the devastating impact of our food industry I started to analyse my own eating habits. I had never thought twice about shopping in supermarkets and I’ve always loved going out to cafes and restaurants, but these establishments are causing huge environmental problems.
WRAP claim that ‘600,000 tones (41%) of the waste from pubs, restaurants, hotels and quick service restaurants is food waste.’ This statistic is upsetting on many levels. A third of the world’s food is wasted while one in nine people remain malnourished. In addition, food waste accounts for 8% of global greenhouse emissions.
These stats have got me thinking… if we’re throwing away so much food, why are we growing it in such large quantities in the first place? Crops takes up valuable land where we could planting trees and meadows which absorb carbon AND provide habitat fro wildlife? And, can I really continue eating at these wasteful cafes and restaurants with a clear conscience? SO, I’ve done some research and found some handy apps.
Three apps that are saving the world
Karma allows restaurants, cafes, etc. to list food items at half price in order to avoid throwing away perfectly good meals at the end of the day. You can search for local businesses or by the type of food you’re looking for e.g. bread or sweets. This app allows you to set up notifications, so that you are always kept up to date on the food available at your favourite locations. You can purchase these meals within the app and then head to the restaurant to pick it up as a takeaway order.
For more information, head to their website karma.life
Olio encourages community food sharing. All you have to do is sign up to the app, list your unwanted food items and wait for other app users to send you a message to arrange collection. While it’s mainly aimed at tackling household food waste, owners and employees of local cafes and restaurants can use their accounts to share their unsold food with nearby residents and shoppers – they list the food on the app and you go to the café to pick it up.
For more information, head to their website olioex.com
Too Good To Go
When using To Good To Go you can browse restaurants, cafes, bakeries, etc. that have signed up to the app. These businesses create goodybags of unsold food which you can purchase within the app and pick up as a takeaway order. You won’t find out what you’re getting before you pay, but you can filter your search by dietary requirements.
For more information, head to their website togoodtogo.co.uk/en-gb
Let’s give it a go!
So, over the next few days I’m going to be testing out these apps to find out just how easy it is to help eliminate food waste in restaurants and cafes. I’d love to know if you’ve heard of any other apps which tackle this type of food waste? Please comment below.
Or, perhaps you could join me in my experiment? Give these apps a try over the next week and let us know how it goes, either in the comments or on social media - just use the hashtag #monkeywrenchnews and tag @alexandrajellicoe (our Monkey Wrench founder).