Leftover food doesn’t have to end up in an incinerator, thanks to this tie up between foodpanda‘s online grocery store pandamart and free-sharing app OLIO that reduces food waste by redistributing still-edible items to the local community.
Besides helping households in need, the efforts also support Singapore’s Zero Waste Master Plan, which intends to reduce the amount of thrash the country sends to the landfill by 30 percent by 2030.
pandamart‘s initiative gives away surplus food that would otherwise be discarded, including perishables nearing the end of their shelf-life and canned goods with minor packaging defects. Instead, OLIO’s “Food Waste Hero” volunteers collect them on set days and times, upload the details onto the OLIO app, and make them available to people for free.
Since the partnership started in December 2021 at pandamart Whampoa, close to 400 kilograms of food – an equivalent of over 900 meals – have been shared with 180 local families. The results also saved over 1,700kg of CO2 emissions and 295,000 litres of water. The programme has since been extended to two more pandamart outlets at Tampines and Bukit Batok, and will include all 15 pandamart stores by the end of 2022.
“While we try our best to ensure that the supply we procure at pandamart coincides with our customers’ demand, it is inevitable that we will have excess food that will not get sold,” said Laura Kantor, Marketing and Sustainability Director at foodpanda Singapore. “Instead of throwing them away, we can reduce food waste by redistributing them, and our partnership with OLIO allows us to easily and efficiently do so. Minimising food waste is one of the key pillars that shape our sustainability agenda at foodpanda, and we are keen to play a bigger part in supporting Singapore’s plan towards becoming a zero waste nation.”
Food waste remains one of the biggest waste streams in Singapore. According to the National Environment Agency, the country generated over 665,000 tonnes in 2020, which represented 11 percent of the total waste produced. While this was an 11 percent reduction over the 744,000 tonnes in 2019, and majority of food waste still ends up being incinerated, which uses water resources and releases carbon emissions.
Currently, more than 100,000 individuals across Singapore are already using OLIO to share food. Those who do are encouraged to ensure any edible items given away are something they would be comfortable consuming. Half of all food listings in Singapore are collected within half an hour.
“Singaporeans are eager to adopt a zero-waste lifestyle and the traction we’ve seen from the trial with pandamart is great testament to that,” said CEO and Co-Founder of OLIO, Tessa Clarke. “We’re incredibly excited to build on this pioneering partnership so we can support as many people and businesses as possible to become zero food waste.”