Consumers are being urged to sign up to a new app to stem the rising tide of dumped food in Ireland – estimated at more than 19,000 tonnes a week.
Olio, a food sharing app, connects neighbours to offer food for free and other items that might otherwise end up in the landfill.
Before the official rollout in Ireland is complete, word of mouth has generated more than 36,000 sign ups and users have already given away 10,500 food portions.
Dublin is the most active country, followed by Cork and Kildare, Galway, Wicklow, and Galway.
Tessa Clarke is the co-founder and CEO of Olio. She was inspired to start the app in the UK after she had difficulty finding anyone to take her food when she moved house.
Olio is what I use when I’m doing a clean-out or when I find something I don’t need anymore. I’ve given away tea, coffee, tins of soup, lentils and pasta
“People in Ireland have an innate sense of community and food is valued,”She said.
“They also like to give and care about each other and the planet.
“By enabling people to easily share more and waste less, we aim to help transform our throw-away society into a giveaway society.”
Lindsay Ray, 38 from Dublin, has donated 121 items to date and collected 69. This is equivalent to 56 meals or 18,000 litres of water.
“There are already close to 2,500 people living within a 5km radius of me in Rialto on the app, so there’s an active group of people sharing and giving away,”She said.
“I use Olio when doing a clear-out or if I come across something I no longer need. I’ve given away tea, coffee, tins of soup, lentils and pasta.
“Apart from the decluttering benefits, it feels really great to be able to give to others, while reducing waste. People in my area are into recycling and waste reduction in a big way, so items are usually requested within an hour or two.”
The app is free and allows users to upload a photo, description, and details about when and where they collected it.
Others can then request these by searching or browsing through the listings, where they will see what’s available nearby.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data shows an estimated one million tonnes of food are wasted in Ireland each year – costinghouseholds 700 euro a year and collectively equal to 3.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide.
Zero Waste Scotland has found that sending 1kg of food to landfills produces the same carbon emissions than dumping 25,000 500ml plastic containers.
Olio’s own research uncovered that a third of people feel “physical pain”They throw away good food.
Olio has more than five million members in five years.
Sharing of more than 34 million meals has seen a fivefold increase in the number of listings on the app.