Social enterprise tackles surplus food waste

Social enterprise tackles surplus food waste

- Ireland

Plan for responsible food distribution eliminates worry about next meal

In Ireland alone, nearly one billion tons of food end up in the landfill every year, yet nearly 15 percent of the population don’t have enough to eat and that number is rising. For the Enactus team at Trinity College Dublin the goal was simple: Reduce the amount of food going to landfills and provide individuals with enough food resources so that they can change their focus from worrying about their next meal.

Seeing Opportunity

It quickly became clear to this team the problem wasn’t in the amount of food being produced but in how it was being distributed and accessed. To address this, they created a network of businesses willing to provide surplus food to charities that provide meals to the hungry. Developing a venture that covered liability and logistics would not only reduce the amount of edible food going to the landfill, it would help those in the community who needed these resources the most.

Taking Action

To make this a reality, the team organized food transfers from Honest2Goodness Market to Bosco House and from the Trinity College Café to Teen Challenge. Transfers are made multiple times a week. To make the initiative even more streamlined, they also created a mobile app that allowed additional businesses to advertise the type of food they were looking to distribute, which then allowed participating charities to claim the food on a first come, first served basis. The app also allows for all the information to be recorded in a database for research and analysis purposes.

Enabling Progress

Since 2012 the “Food, Glorious Food” project has been making food transfers three times a week, with an estimated value of €100 per run. Due to this virtual food bank, those in need are now receiving much-needed food and new restaurants, catering facilities and markets continue to join this this distribution model to save surplus food from the trash bin.

Project Facts

1 virtual food bank

Weekly food runs

€5,500 in food saved from landfills