OLIO wants to change how we think about waste completely, one carrot at a time. That wonky parsnip? It could be the making of someone’s stew. That tin of peaches sitting at the back of the cupboard? Just the ticket for your neighbour’s pudding.
The nifty app matches up surplus food with people who can rescue and use it. Simply snap a pic of the surplus item or ingredients and post it on OLIO. It’s a way for cafes, shops or neighbours to share food for free.
It could be a box of veg from an allotment, or the results of an enthusiastic cake-making session after watching the Great British Bake-Off. Or it could a family that’s off on holiday but hasn’t run down the contents of the fridge.
Around a million people have joined OLIO since it launched in the UK in 2015, sharing almost 1.5 million portions of food.
Tessa Clarke, who co-founded the app with Saasha Celestial-One, told Cityscapes about her inspiration: six sweet potatoes, a white cabbage and some pots of yoghurt.
“I was moving country and found myself on moving day with some good food that we hadn’t managed to eat, but that I couldn’t bring myself to throw away,” she said. “It seemed to me crazy when there were surely plenty of people within hundreds of metres of me who would love it. The problem was they just didn’t know about it.”
By matching up want and need, these innovative startups are helping individuals and businesses to more effectively preserve resources and pave the way to a more sustainable future.