Food waste is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and a misuse of valuable resources. While at-home strategies like meal planning and freezing greens can help your family cut down your food waste footprint, it’s not always easy to use up every last grocery item before they go bad. Fortunately, the new food sharing app Olio aims to help you cut down on community food waste by making it easy to share unwanted items with a neighbor in need.
Created by UK-based entrepreneurs Tessa Clarke and Saasha Celestial-One, Olio lets you easily post food items you don’t want so neighbors can come to collect them. Whether you have a head of lettuce starting to wilt or forgot to buy a key ingredient for a recipe, Olio connects those with unwanted goods with those in need.
The app has nearly 3.5 million users in 50 countries and, according to Clarke and Celestial-One, the app saw a big spike in users during the pandemic as more people cooking at home, and experiencing food insecurity. No money is exchanged on the platform. Like the Buy Nothing groups, we wrote about last week, it’s just a way to get unused goods to those who will put them to good use. The app prevents food from ending up in landfills, and it also provides nutritional resources to those struggling to put food on the table.
So far, over 4 million items have been exchanged using Olio, preventing an estimated 3,775 tonnes of CO2 emissions from entering the atmosphere. Looking to expand, Olio has now partnered with UK grocery stores to redirect items near their expiration date to individuals and nonprofits in need.