Leftover-Sharing Website in Germany Tackles Food Waste Head On

What are we to do if we cook too much one night, and don’t have room in the fridge to save the leftovers? We’ve all been guilty of dejectedly scraping perfectly good food into the trash, knowing it will not get eaten.

Another dilemma: you need an egg for a recipe, don’t want to buy a whole dozen because you know you won’t use it, and your neighbors aren’t home. What to do now?

Well, if you lived in Germany, you could simply go online, and resolve either of these two common situations. The free, non-profit website, Foodsharing.de, has been up and running for nearly two years now, and is used by residents in over 240 German cities. According to website co-founder Valentin Thurn:

“We want to bring back this sharing idea into the modern world because food is not just a commodity. It should be considered as something different, as the basis of our life.”

On the Foodsharing.de website, users have several options. They can list foods to give away in a “basket,” which is then searchable by users looking for food. If you need a food item, you simply search others’ “baskets” until you find what you need. There is also a “foodsharing” option where users can share missing recipe ingredients and meal additions.

It’s not just individuals that are sharing their food, either. According to Thurn, there are many volunteers involved with the site, who go around to grocery stores and other food establishments to collect unwanted produce and baked items, which are then listed on the site.

Right now, due to the care that needs to be taken with perishable foods, only foods with “best before” labels are allowed on the site. Meats and other foods with a definite expiration date are not currently shared. Upon signing up for the site, users must sign a document stating that they will not sue those providing the food – it’s eat at your own risk. Foods can be rated on the site for quality after they are received.

Foodsharing.de currently has over 40,000 users, and since its arrival online, it has moved approximately 40 tons of food between those who had excess, and those who needed it.

Food GarbageIf you’re like us, you’re thinking: “We need something like this in the US!” We do indeed! While there is no site quite like this in America yet, there are other initiatives designed to get food where it is needed. One is Portland, Oregon-based ForkitOver.org. The website for this organization states:

“Fork It Over! is a program designed to reduce hunger and waste in the Portland metropolitan area by connecting food businesses with food rescue agencies.”

Kudos to Germany’s large-scale food waste solution, and to all projects that are working to keep food in our bellies and out of landfills. It is initiatives like this that make a huge difference in people’s lives.

With all the people around the world who go hungry day after day, there is no reason to throw out our food. We simply need to get creative, to make sure it gets where it needs to be.

-The Alternative Daily


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