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Rescuing food with a tap on an app
Turns out you can have your cake and prevent emissions too.
Kia ora, welcome to Future Proof. I’m Ellen, thanks for joining me this week.
The Foodprint app (left) was created by Michal Garvey (right) to facilitate food rescue. Image credit: Foodprint.
When I was a student in Dunedin, the best time to visit the café across the road was around 3.30pm in the afternoon – when the last of the day’s cheese scones were up for grabs for cheap, or even for free.
“The average eatery has around 1,000kg of surplus food per year. And it’s worth around $10,000,” says Michal Garvey, founder and director of Foodprint.
Saving this extra food from ending up in landfill isn’t just a bonus for small businesses. It’s a climate solution too.
When wasted food is sent to landfill, it rots and releases methane – a potent, planet-heating gas. Plus, there are all the carbon emissions that went into growing and making the food in the first place. All up, one kilogram of wasted food emits greenhouse gases equivalent to 2.6 kg of carbon dioxide. When you consider that a third of the world’s food is never eaten, that’s a helluva lot of emissions. It also leaves a helluva lot of potential for cutting emissions: reducing food waste is one of the most impactful climate actions we can take, according to Project Drawdown.
But moseying over to your local café every afternoon in hopes of a cheap treat isn’t the most efficient way of reducing food waste. That’s where the Foodprint app comes in: eateries can list their surplus or imperfect food at a discount on the app, and customers can snag a deal. “Eateries list items on the app for a discount from 30% off the regular retail price. Sometimes there’s stuff for free, and a lot of the time the discounts are up around 70-80%,” Garvey explains. “As a customer, you can receive push notifications from your favourite eatery.”
Garvey was inspired to start Foodprint after seeing similar apps in action while living in Scandinavia. Since launching in June 2019, Foodprint has expanded to 350 eateries across New Zealand, including bakeries, delis, sushi shops and cafés.
Food rescued via the app has prevented 115,000 kg of carbon emissions. Eateries and individuals can see their personal emissions savings via the app too. “You get to feel really good knowing that you're eating cake that you've saved from landfill where it would emit methane and contribute to the climate crisis,” says Garvey.
“In both a cost-of-living crisis and a climate crisis, there is simply no good reason to be wasting food or the money it’s worth. So we’re really proud to be able to keep that money with small New Zealand businesses, and keep food out of landfill.”
Foodprint is continuing to roll out across new locations, coming to Tauranga in early November. “I would love to get Foodprint operating right across Aotearoa,” says Garvey. “So no matter what town or city you're in, no matter how big or small, you'll be able to pull out your phone and rescue food.”
What does the new government mean for climate?
It could be a “coalition of climate chaos”, writes RNZ climate change correspondent Eloise Gibson, with National, Act and NZ First differing on key climate questions. According to National, neither the Zero Carbon Act nor New Zealand's international climate pledges will be up for negotiation. But Act in particular “campaigned hard” on repealing the Zero Carbon Act and wants to withdraw New Zealand from international commitments to reduce emissions. Gibson highlights two areas of “wiggle room” where National may be more willing to make concessions: buying international carbon credits, and methane targets.
It’s recycling week!
Fair Go’s Pippa Wetzell visits a Material Recovery Facility and finds that we’re doing a lot of wishcycling – putting stuff in the recycling because we’d like to think it’s recyclable. But sadly, it’s not.
Recycling isn’t just for plastic and tins, either. Vanessa Young explores the recycling happening on the teeny, tiny nanoscale in labs across Aotearoa: fish eyes into new gels and adhesives, and e-waste into new sources of high-value elements.
Fonterra top emitter for third year in a row
New Zealand’s top ten emitters are responsible for more than half of the country’s emissions, according to data published by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Fonterra tops the list, followed by petrol companies, Eloise Gibson reports.
Ireland has announced a “war chest” of €3 billion for climate and nature.
The environment minister of the Maldives writes in the New York Times about the island nation’s solar projects, illustrating how developing nations need help to finance renewables.
A Rotorua teenager has designed an AI trap to catch forest-munching wallabies.
There’s a 99% chance that 2023 will be the hottest year since records began.
If the world’s first solar energy entrepreneur hadn’t been kidnapped, would fossil fuels still have dominated the 20th century?
Scientists are investigating how climate change and marine heatwaves might affect Fiordland’s black corals.
Heavy SUVs emit more climate damaging gas than older cars do, a UK study finds.
Corporate giants like Amazon and Apple will have to publicly disclose their carbon emissions in California under new laws that will have a global impact.
To finish this issue, two tales of intrepid bird journeys. First up is Maddy the tūturuatu shore plover, who flew from her home on Motutapu Island in the Hauraki Gulf down to the Manawatū, and back again in the space of about a month. At 400 km each way, that’s the longest ever recorded flight for her species. Our second avian trailblazer is Tautahi, one of the ten kākāpō now living at Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari. Despite installing a special climbing barrier, Tautahi managed to use a fallen tree to boost his way over the predator-proof fence and escape into nearby farmland. Luckily he’s wearing a tracker, so rangers could intercept and return him to safety before he could cause too much havoc.
Here’s to pushing boundaries like these fearless icons,
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