What do you usually do when you bought too many oranges and cannot eat them before they start to rot? Yes, that’s right – you let them rest in the fridge until they get shiny silver fur, and throw them away. Most of us do the same, and it is a burden for the planet, as tonnes of food are being thrown every day, while millions of people elsewhere are starving. The new foodsharing trend is supposed to fix it.
Say no to wasting food!The no-food-wasted movement was launched quite a long time ago, but it was the success of the foodsharing.de project that was a breakthrough. Launched in 2012, it was the first major platform aimed at helping save food that would otherwise be thrown away. Consider this: almost half of all food produce is being thrown away in the US, and, to make it even more impressive, it is 60 million tonnes a year. Globally, the figures are one third and 1.6 billion tonnes. While in many developed countries the amount of food thrown away is tremendous, there are many people who are hungry, and even in these developed countries there are those who cannot afford enough food. A lot of food is being discarded and left to rot (which results in fields of decaying produce that does not smell good) only because modern consumers want blemish-free fruits and vegetables. The ridiculous cosmetic standards lead to half of produce being burned in incinerators. However, it is not the only level on which food is wasted. Restaurants, stores and households also contribute to food waste. When the best before date is about to expire, food is thrown away by chain stores, and restaurants and cafés get rid of all pizzas, bread and cakes just because they have not been bought today – and those consumers who are likely to come tomorrow will demand fresh pastry.
Fighting food wasteIn order to fight food waste, food sharing was invented. Foodsharing.de is a major platform available in Germany and Austria. It is used by thousands of producers, retailers and individuals who cooperate to collect food and distribute it among all who need it. Everything is free, and the platform is operated by volunteers who strive to reduce food waste. Many of them practice what they preach and eat food offered by the project participants. Nowadays there are more than 25,000 volunteers who contribute to the project, and new “departments” are being established. Millions of kilograms of food have been saved since the project launch. Another way the project is developing is Fair-Teiler, which are public distribution points where those who have no access to the Internet can bring their food or take it if they need it. There are fridges and shelves that are cleaned by volunteers, so sharing food is becoming more convenient. Inspired by foodsharing.de, foodsavers outside of these two German-speaking countries are cooperating to introduce such practices in their counties. There are dozens of apps enabling one to share food and even leftovers. Among such apps are Olio, ShareYourFood and Together, as well as many other solutions for all who want to help the planet and achieve sustainable use of resources.
What can I do?If you want to help the planet and contribute to food waste reduction, you can do the following:
- If you are a farmer, think of ways to use the vegetables, crops and fruits that do not meet modern cosmetic standards but are of good quality. For example, peppers that have a weird shape can be used in lesco and other dishes and canned food where shape does not matter (well, it does not matter, but modern consumers seem to value such characteristics, so using parts of veggies and fruits can be a good option).
- If you are an individual, do not buy more food than you can consume. If there is food the best before date of which is about to expire, you can share it with people from your neighborhood using special apps.
- Support the foodsharing project by raising awareness of food waste.