To start, a few facts: 12 million tons of plastic end up in our oceans each year. One third of all food produced globally goes to waste. The greenhouse gas emissions involved in the production of food which go to waste mean that if food waste were a country it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, after China and the US.
This is astounding, and should make all of us think twice. Each of us can contribute to combatting climate change by changing our daily habits.
There is no magical solution to this problem. But there are small steps individuals can take to make a change. To do so is to get informed and involved. The smartphone is a brilliant tool to do just that. So, without further ado, here is a list of eight apps (all free) and services to help reduce food waste.
Love Food Hate Waste
This website has a host of tips and tricks on how to waste less food, as well as recipes and ways to store food for longer.
Olio is a platform for users to post unwanted food (and non-food items) to prevent them from going to waste. Users interested in the item get into contact and arrange a pick-up. Olio also has volunteers partnered up with cafes and restaurants. At the end of the day they collect the leftover food and post them on Olio for everyone to benefit from. What’s better than free food?
Too Good to Go
Too Good to Go provides a solution to the problem of leftover food in restaurants and cafes being thrown away. Through the app, outlets can offer leftover food at a discounted price. Every day they estimate how many portions they will have left at the end of the day and users can buy them. At closing time, you just go to the selected venue and collect your food. Portions vary depending on how much is left each day but these can be very big, way more than you would usually get for that price. (Side note: Wasabi also does 50% off all food left 30 mins before closing). The app Karma provides a similar service, offering 50% off food from various locations. Shops selling discounted groceries are also included in this one.
Plant Jammer is a super easy-to-use app which will come up with recipes for what you have leftover in the fridge: half an onion, one carrot, an open can of chickpeas… You can choose cuisine, portions, staple dishes etc, and quickly whip up something delicious.
Giki allows you to scan supermarket products and find out if they are healthy, sustainable and ethical. It suggests alternatives for those who don’t comply to these and guides you through sustainable grocery shopping.
Oddbox provides a service where it collects wonky, too big, too small, scratched fruits and vegetables that don’t meet shelf standards from supermarkets and farms across the country and delivers them right to your door. Every week you receive a box (you can choose size and type) full of a variety of different produce starting at just £8.99 per week.
This app finds the nearest refill water stations to fill up your reusable water bottle. No need to buy plastic bottles anymore!
Selling and buying second hand clothes has never been easier. On this peer to peer social shopping app, the photos of the clothes are surprisingly good, price and state are described. In addition no need to pick the piece up, the clothes are shipped directly to you. Sustainibility is also about recycling and upcycling, trying to keep products, foods etc in the cycle rather than throwing them away and buying new ones.
Critics point out that an app does not equate to action. Proponents argue that apps create an entirely new means to tackle issues, like Giki providing information to shoppers at the point of purchase.
Leading a sustainable lifestyle is not expensive or constraining. On the contrary you will eat better, save money by wasting less (on average UK households waste £700 worth of food), all in all contributing to preserving the planet.
So why not take a challenge and try one of these apps today?