Images: Annabel Staff for Olio
If you’re anything like me, you despise throwing away food. From a young age, I was taught not to waste food, to scrape all the morsels out of the pot and to nibble every last bit off of the apple core. Now every week, the night before rubbish collection day, I face my refrigerator with the same conflict. On the one hand, I want to clean out my fridge, give it a good wipe and start afresh in the new week. But on the other hand, I feel tremendous guilt at tossing away browning broccoli, limp spinach leaves, dry bread crusts and leftovers that no one ever really got around to eating.
Throwing away food is a weekly ritual that breaks my heart not only because I was taught never to waste food, but also because I try to be frugal when it comes to grocery shopping and I hate to waste money. The Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations estimates that as much as 30% of all food produced is ultimately wasted and never eaten at all. That’s 30% of my food rands, just thrown in the bin!
What can I do to cut down on food waste? The best way to cut down on waste is to make your kitchen more efficient. There are many ways
OLIO is an mobile app platform that allows users to give and receive food within their community. Co Founders Tessa Cook and Saasha Celestial-One wanted to create a marketplace where users could interact and exchange unwanted, yet perfectly edible food. Bakeries, retailers and neighbours can quickly and easily post items available for collection. Any surplus food, either wet or dry is welcome. It is also an excellent resource for schools, care homes and other institutions to take in what others don’t need.
The golden rule of OLIO is to ask yourself: is this food that I am willing to eat? If the answer is yes, then it is welcome in the marketplace. Items such as fresh vegetables, dry goods like beans or rice, cooked meal leftovers such as vegetable biryani, excess lemons from your lemon tree, leftover cake from your child’s birthday party or even things that are nearing their sell by date, but will still be good for a few days.
Excellent times to use OLIO
• When moving house and you need to clean out your fridge.
• Just before going away on holiday, and you know your milk won’t last until you return.
• After celebration days, when you just have too much food left in the house.
• If there is planned electricity outages in your neighbourhood, and you don’t want all your fresh food to go to waste.
• You are Spring cleaning your pantry and have found all the old spices and grains from that time you were really into Indian food.