Back in college, my friends and I used to *without fail* stop at the nearby bodega at the end of our nights to satisfy our munchies (LOL, classic!). We’d pull out the remaining cash from our pockets, getting together enough money to share a pizza back in our dorms. We’d stand there drooling, watching as the night-worker heated it up in the oven behind the cash register, growing more and more excited to eat.
It became a frequent weekend occurrence, and just like any other college student, bar-goer and night owl, it felt like a rite of passage to make these late-night food runs. But to me, there was something more I got out of it than just shitty pizza. Yes: In fact, I learned something.
One night, as we waited for our food, we watched as the employee working the night shift got an industrial-sized garbage bag and started throwing away the leftover bakery items. One by one, donuts, eclairs and muffins were tossed, piling and filling up the multiple gallon bag. I couldn’t believe it: why were they throwing away perfectly good food?! “We do this every night,” he said. “Sometimes we’ll donate it to a homeless shelter, but mostly we just throw it in the dumpster.”
I was shocked and disappointed. And, more so than that, I was curious. I was curious about how many other businesses - both big and small - were doing this; curious about how many people could use this food that was going to waste, and I was curious about how much food was getting wasted.
And let me tell you, it’s not a pretty number....
1/3 of food produced in the world goes to waste.
That’s a fucking LOT - an amount that is almost incomprehensible. And, it’s also unacceptable. We as a society can (and should) do better. And, we can all start by downloading the app, Too Good To Go.
Too Good To Go is a mobile application and company that started the movement to reduce food waste by connecting users to restaurants and other food businesses in their area, and allowing them to purchase the leftover food for a fraction of the cost.
“We dream of a planet with no food waste, and every day we’re working on making that a reality,” the team at Too Good To Go writes on their website. “Our app is the most direct way for you to get involved - just download, log on, and get saving on perfectly good, surplus food from your local stores. It’s always a surprise, at a great price, and an instant good deed for the planet.”
Since 2016, Too Good To Go has accumulated 29.3 million users that are helping to fight food waste, and they have saved 53.9M meals from all around the world. Fuck yeah - not only are they saving the planet and encouraging others to help do so by reducing food waste, they’re also making it really easy for us to do.
You just log on, select your location and restaurant, pay for it through the app (most options only cost only around $4.99!) and pick it up. And the coolest part about it? You don’t know what you’re getting until you get your order. That’s right: it’s a total surprise! Foodie roulette, anyone?!
The team at Too Good To Go really does go above and beyond to #DoShitDifferently. In addition to making the app user-friendly, and making it easy to help the planet while filling many bellies without breaking the bank, Too Good To Go also makes sure their users know *why* the movement to prevent food waste is so important.
Offered on the website is an entire knowledge hub filled with resources and information about food waste - across the ways it affects the planet negatively, where food is wasted, what food is wasted and more. And, this information about food waste is really, really important to learn... it’s important for everyone to learn - not just the Too Good To Go app users. It’s important so we can understand more than just what it is, or why it’s a problem, but also so we can understand how to help the problem. The more of us that are educated about it, the more we can share it with the people around us, and start to solve it within our community. Maybe if I had known more about food waste back in college during my time making late-night food runs, then I would have ditched the fresh pizza and opted for some leftovers, instead. But luckily, I can now make up for lost time with Too Good To Go. And, if you love saving the planet as much as you love saving a buck, then you can start to make up for lost time, too.