Around 330,000 meals were saved from ending up in landfills in Ireland last year thanks to the efforts of around 1,800 volunteers using the free Olio-sharing app.
About 15,000 of these meals were saved from the trash during Christmas week.
Olio volunteers, known as “Food Waste Heroes”, have collected 131 tonnes of surplus food from the app’s partner Tesco Ireland and distributed it across the country.
Volunteers collect unsold but still edible groceries from supermarkets daily and list them on the app for free for others in the community to collect and consume.
Tessa Clarke, co-founder of Olio, said: “As we enter a time when food waste is often at its highest, it’s great to see such an active community of people coming together to fight waste while caring for their neighbours help.
“Our partnership with Tesco Ireland has resulted in a massive 656,000 items of food being separated from waste in just over a year.
“Food waste accounts for a third of all greenhouse gas emissions and is the sector with the largest emissions.
“If we are to tackle the climate crisis, avoiding food waste should be a priority.”
Since the Olio app’s first partnership with Tesco in November 2021, fruit and vegetables made up the most shared items (37 items), followed by dairy and eggs (32 items) and baked goods (24 items).
Waterford resident Sarah Karam volunteered in June, raising funds in two Tesco stores and has so far distributed 526 items, saving the equivalent of more than 1,260 meals and 396,000 liters of water.
“It took me a couple of weeks to settle in but I have people who do regular pick ups from my place and any groceries I post on Olio are gone within an hour,” said the 33-year-old.
“Fruit, vegetables and ready meals are always the first to come.
“I’ve made some great friends through the app – including other Food Waste Heroes in Waterford.
“We help each other and are all committed to reducing the environmental impact of food waste, which in my home is less than 1 percent.”
After Dublin, Cork, Louth, Limerick and Waterford are the most active counties using Olio to share food with the app’s 72,000 Irish subscribers.
A total of 534 collections are carried out each week across the country – and on Christmas Eve alone, volunteers collected surplus groceries from 30 Tesco stores including Dolphin’s Barn in Dublin, Mullingar in Co Westmeath and Tuam, Co Galway.
Tesco, as the app’s official partner, accounts for around 98 per cent of the total meals.
https://www.independent.ie/news/more-than-300000-meals-saved-from-bin-by-food-waste-heroes-42250370.html More than 300,000 meals have been saved from the trash by Food Waste Heroes