How to help the planet, one meal at a time
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Three apps to reduce your food waste

How to help the planet, one meal at a time

Words— Jeremy Freed

If you’re in search of a way to do something good for the planet, look no farther than your own kitchen. According to a report from early 2019, 58 percent of all food produced in Canada (some 35.5 million tonnes) goes into the garbage. In addition to the fact that we’re throwing away a lot of perfectly good food, all of that waste also represents millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide and methane gas, both of which are key factors in climate change. If the thought of all of that uneaten food troubles you, you’re not alone. A handful of app developers have come up with innovative tools to help solve our food waste problem. Here are a few of the best ones. 




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Did you know that if international food waste were a country, it would be the third leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions behind the US & China? This Canadian startup is committed to bringing down that number by reducing the food thrown out by your local grocery store, and saving customers money in the process. Launched in 2016, Flashfood functions like a flash sale site, working with grocery stores to identify foods that are soon-to-expire (particularly prepared foods, which have a short shelf life) and discounting them at 50% off for quick sale. Simply shop for deals at a store near you, purchase directly through the app, and pick up your purchase at the store. The idea seems to be catching on. Flashfood now has partner locations from Yukon to Newfoundland, including more than 250 in Ontario and Quebec.




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This app is aimed at finding hungry customers for restaurants in Toronto who might otherwise throw food away at the end of the day. A quick browse on Flashfood shows time-sensitive discounts from local restaurants who might have more of a certain dish than they think they can sell. You can buy your meal directly through the app, present the receipt on your phone when you pick it up, and walk away with a great deal on lunch or dinner. Easy as that! The app also keeps track of how much money you’ve saved and how many meals you’ve diverted from the garbage, allowing you to feel extra good about yourself.




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Got too many ripe avocados? Just post them on OLIO and make someone’s guacamole dreams come true. This UK-based app is designed to connect people with unwanted food that might otherwise be tossed—for free!—addressing both food waste and food insecurity. From small beginnings in 2016, this app now boasts 1.4 million users in 49 countries, who have so far shared 2.5 million portions of food. Once you post a food item on the app, other users nearby can arrange to come pick it up for free, and users can rate each other based on their experiences with each transaction. 




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No Waste

What horrors are lurking in the back of your produce drawer? A big part of the food waste problem is as simple as forgetting about the half-empty yogurt containers and wilting heads of lettuce in the fridge until it’s too late. This app requires a little more work upfront (you need to either scan your food’s bar code or enter each item from a list) but it pays off by saving you money on groceries and keeping good food from going in the bin. No Waste keeps a running inventory of the food in your pantry, fridge and freezer, monitoring quantities and best-before dates, and helping you to plan your meals and grocery shopping based on what you’ve got.


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