Consumers are being urged to sign up to a new app to stem the rising tide of dumped food in Ireland - estimated at over 19,000 tonnes a week.
Food sharing app OLIO connects neighbours to give away unwanted food and other items that may otherwise end up in landfill.
Ahead of its official rollout in Ireland last November word of mouth had already generated over 36,000 sign-ups, with users giving away 10,500 food portions.
Dublin was the most active county, followed by Cork, Kildare, Galway and Wicklow.
OLIO co-founder and CEO, Tessa Clarke, was inspired to build the app in the UK five years ago after struggling to find anyone to take unwanted food from her fridge when she was moving house.
“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.”
One Irish user, Dubliner Lindsay Ray, 38, has so far given away 121 items and collected 69, saving the equivalent of 56 meals and 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.”
Users of the free app upload a photo and description, plus details about where and when to collect 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 - costing
households €700 a year and collectively equal to 3.6million tonnes of carbon dioxide.
Research by Zero Waste Scotland claims that sending 1kg of food to a landfill produces the same carbon emissions as doing this with 25,000 500ml plastic bottles.
OLIO’s own research uncovered that a third of people feel “physical pain” when they throw away good food.
Its rollout here comes off the back of a €36 million funding round announced in September that will enable it to accelerate its international expansion plans.
In five years, OLIO has acquired over 5million community members worldwide.
More than 34 million portions of food have been shared, with the pandemic increasing the number of listings coming onto the app five-fold.
It can be downloaded from Google Play and Apple app stores. The desktop version is also accessible via olioex.com
5 Jul 2022