The vision for neighbourly has always been to create a collaborative ‘one stop shop’ for businesses, organisations and individuals where all are empowered to work together to make their communities better, and stronger. Redistribution of useable surplus is an important part of this. Waste is bad for society, no-one benefits.
One of the topics that remains consistently hot is food waste. Despite reductions in recent years, in the UK we still continue to throw away significant volumes of food, in fact we’re one of the worst offenders in Europe. The amount of edible food being disposed of remains unacceptably high.
Looking at just retail and wholesale, the figures are relatively low compared with other areas – 0.25m tonnes out of a total of 15m tonnes of food lost or wasted each year. By comparison, preventable food waste by British households makes up 4.2m, with manufacturing at 3.9m. Despite this, we’ve found a great desire from retail businesses to change things, particularly at store level. Everyone agrees that food which is edible but surplus to requirements shouldn’t be thrown away.
The answer seems like an obvious one. Give it to those in need, right? But redistributing food, particularly fresh food, can be a logistical challenge. No single organisation can handle the volume of surplus being created. Donors need to find local outlets in a timely manner and recipients need to know what’s available for collection while still edible and safe. Even though there are hundreds of localised and well established charities that would benefit from free resources, there’s little transparency over who they are and what they need.
Neighbourly Food delivers a practical solution that creates transparency around the large number of redistribution charities and initiatives that exist. It consolidates and sign-posts all these different entry points for surplus in one digital hub. On one side businesses can set up timely ‘donations’ showing what’s available with location and expiry date. On the other side project teams can search or set up food alerts, accept the items online and arrange local collection.
In a recent pilot in the South West the tool helped to distribute over 2 tonnes of surplus food to communities where it was put to good use – organisations such as homeless charities and food education projects. Participating stores could see huge potential benefits, from a reduction in waste disposal costs to improved environmental impact and community relations.
We hope that by setting up this direct contact route, we can help divert thousands of tonnes of edible food away from landfill and into the hands of the most vulnerable.
Neighbourly food is available in all parts of the UK & Ireland. Charities and community groups interested in receiving food alerts can get started by creating a project page at neighbourly. It's simple to get started - just click here or visit neighbourly.com today!
Any donors with surplus edible food should get in touch with us via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Introducing neighbourly Food
6 October 2015