We’ve all done it. Brought home the leftovers from that restaurant meal (portions are so big), only to throw them out two weeks later. Or perhaps you don’t like bringing home leftovers at all, but just hate to waste all that food. Or maybe you ordered a pizza and realize that you can’t possibly finish it yourself. Now a new app, Leftover Swap, allows you to share your leftover food with others nearby. The brainchild of Dan Newman and Bryan Summersett, and drawing inspiration from Tristram Stuart, Newman explains “Besides the 40% of food we waste, there is 16% of the American population without enough food to live a healthy lifestyle, which is mind boggling.”
Leftover Swap seeks to match those with too much leftover food up with those with not enough food. You can kind of think of it as Match.com for food.
Says author Tristram Stuart, who features prominently on the LeftoverSwap site, “With LeftoverSwap, there’s less waste and fewer people picking through dumpsters: a win-win.”
Stuart should know; he’s the author of the 2009 expose Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal.
(He’s also the author of the somewhat more esoteric The Bloodless Revolution: A Cultural History of Vegetarianism: From 1600 to Modern Times.)
Here’s how Leftover Swap works: you’re sitting at your table, chowing down, when suddenly you realize that you’re full – can’t eat another bite. But you still have half of your pizza left. Or maybe a whole baked potato, or maybe that awesome blossom that you ordered as an appetizer but that arrived after your entree. Whatever the food may be, you snap a picture of it, and post it as “available” to those in your area.
Or, you are hungry, and wondering whether anybody has anything on offer through Leftover Swap. So you fire up the app and check your neighbourhood to see whether anybody has anything they want to get rid of.
Then you simply arrange the pick-up or delivery of the food.
As Leftover Swap explains on their site:
40% of the food we produce goes to waste.
25% of us don’t know our neighbors’ names.
70% of us are overweight.
16% of Americans lack enough food for a healthy lifestyle.
99% of us don’t need a second helping of the beef lo mein.
LeftoverSwap solves all of these problems.
LeftoverSwappers don’t feel the need to eat an enormous restaurant portion, and instead pass it on to a hungrier neighbor, in turn learning their name and avoiding excess calories. Through increasing the efficiency of each plot of land dedicated to food production, we can reduce our intensive use of natural resources, and reduce our expansion into sensitive environmental areas.
And, as Newman points out, “If you have a little community in your neighborhood and you don’t want to eat the same lasagna for a week, why not trade that with another family?”
Co-Founders Dan Newman and Bryan Summersett
The Leftover Swap app is currently being reviewed in the Apple app store (so look for it to be in the store shortly), with an Android app also under development.
If you think you won’t remember to check the app store or the Android market, you can sign up at the Leftover Swap website to be notified when it is released in your flavour.