Posted on January, 21st 2015.
Throwing food out is history! Two gift economy based initiatives in Germany make giving away the leftovers from your refrigerator or retrieving unsold items from grocery stores a piece of cake.
Everyone has at some point thrown out leftovers or non-expired food lurking in the refrigerator. For example in Europe, French households throw out 1.2 million tons of still edible food every year (source: minagri-infographies.tumblr.com). That's 20 kilos of food per year per capita. How can we stop all this waste? In Germany two original ideas show us how.
A website for donating leftovers
Giving your leftovers away rather than putting them in the garbage is what Foodsharing is all about – the Internet platform allows individuals, stores, restaurants and producers to donate any food surpluses. You simply create a profile on the website and update it according to the food you want to donate, specifying the amount and the use-by date. Registered users respond if something interests them - the food is either picked up by the recipient or exchanged in a public place. GPS makes it easy to locate the nearest donor to home. A rating system also ensures donors and recipients act responsibly and don’t, for example, donate rotten food. On average, the ratings are very high - 9.9 / 10.
According to the movement’s founders, 55,000 "Foodsharers" have already registered across the country (source: www.nytimes.com).
Self-service refrigerators in Berlin
The Lebensmittelretter or Foodsavers could be likened to anti-waste Robin Hoods. Every day, 1,700 German volunteers tour grocery stores, shops and restaurants in Berlin collecting food that cannot be sold but is still edible. Anyone - not only Foodsavers - can then choose whatever takes their fancy from a network of self-service refrigerators called FairTeiler (literally, "fair sharers") that was set up in 2012.
In total there are 20 of these sharing refrigerators in the German capital, all open round the clock, 7 days a week. The initiative has spread to other parts of the country, with 8,000 volunteers and more than a thousand partner supermarkets involved.