Reducing Food Waste Through Technology
Cities, where approximately half of the world’s population lives, produce more than a billion tons of solid waste each year. Maanvi Singh, Eat It, Don’ t Leave it. How London Became a Leader in Anti-Food Waste, www.npr.org (Nov. 22, 2016). Food accounts for about half of this waste. Id. Fortunately, technology is making it easier for residents in cities to share food, dramatically reducing the amount that is unnecessarily discarded. Id.
Researchers at Trinity College have identified more than 4,000 food-sharing businesses and organizations in 100 cities around the world. Id. For example, Plan Zheroes is an organization that focuses on reducing food poverty in London. Id. The organization connects restaurants, coffee shops, and small grocers that have leftover food with local homeless shelters and food banks in need of donations. Id. Plan Zheroes CEO, Laura Hopper explained that in recent years technology has totally transformed the way Londoners approach food waste. Id.
Olio is another London based food-sharing start-up. Id. This app makes it easier for busy food sellers to avoid wasting food. Id. Anyone with a smartphone can upload pictures of leftovers or spare ingredients to the app, and individuals interested in the food can go collect it for free. Id. Approximately 85,000 Londoners have made Olio accounts thus far. Id.
Currently, London is paving the way for food-sharing, waste-reducing organizations. Id. Out of the 4,000 identified, 198 businesses/organizations are based out of London. Id. This is more than any other city in the world. Id. Since New York and London are similar in size, it can be assumed that it would be just as do-able for New York to be a leader in food-waste reduction as well.