Technology against wastes

Applications and websites help association that collect food wastes

15-12-2014
There are many volunteers, all around Italy, dedic
There are many volunteers, all around Italy, dedicating their time and energies to fighting food wastes, recuperating exceeding food from schools, restaurants, markets. There are many opportunities offered online to organise these important services

You wake up at 5.30, meet at 7 with the other volunteers, wear the vest and with a refrigerated van go to the fruit and vegetable market, to restaurant chains, business and school canteens, supermarkets, food producers. This is the round that, every day, dozens of volunteers all around Italy take, coordinated by Banco Alimentare, in order to collect the exceeding food that would otherwise be wasted.

After having collected as much food as possible, the round continues to distribute it: ready meals and part of the products collected go to soup kitchens, the remaining part stays in the storehouses and is then divided daily among the charity associations that request it. This foundation, born in 1989 and working in all of Italy can count on the help of almost 1400 volunteers and tries to make exceeding food on one side and the needs of charity associations on the other meet, even though the demand is constantly growing and it’s always harder for the supply to satisfy it.

For businesses such as restaurants, bars, catering companies, self services there are no organised systems to recover these products because the quantity of food is smaller when compared to restaurant chains. It is precisely for these firms, however, that Bring The Food was created, an app that is mainly directed at people working in canteens, restaurants and shops, allowing them to donate exceeding food to a charity organization. As a partner, Banco Alimentare supervises registrations and authorises or not their accreditation depending on whether the logistics and health-hygiene conditions exist.

Banco Alimentare’s storehouse

Banco Alimentare’s storehouse

Collecting exceeding food from large events such as festivals, congresses and weddings is, instead, the mission of Equoevento Onlus. Once contacted by the donating organisation, volunteers collect the exceeding food and redistribute it to soup kitchens and charities, preserving the cold chain and guaranteeing correct preservation and optimal conditions until delivery.

Finally, for private citizens, who represent an important part in the waste chain, there are various applications offering a service of door to door exceeding food collection which is then redistributed to those who request it. The amount of food collected in this was is small, but it certainly also has a social and educational function, as it makes people sensitive to waste. The service is completely free for both donors and receivers. Among the various applications available I point out:

  • Breading helps recuperating exceeding bread,

  • Scambiacibo and NextDoorHelp put those who have too much food and those who need it in contact thanks to geolocalized notices that allow demand and offer to meet within a few kilometres;

  • Ratatouille is an app that allows visualising the virtual fridge of the closest users. The virtual fridge contains food you want to donate, as well as use by date and days on which one can collect it.


Remember these applications especially after the holidays, when it is possible you will find yourself with products in excess or with an approaching use by date.

In order to “feed the planet”, the theme of the next Expo Milano 2015, it is essential to start from wastes without underestimating the small initiatives that can give important results because waste can be collected especially on a local basis and can be reduced by donating it.


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Tecniche, ingredienti e iniziative della ristorazione attenta all'ambiente e agli ideali di Expo 2015, viste da Lisa Casali