by Aditi Kara and Lara Valles
Everybody wants to change the world, yet only a few actually do it. What if the ability to change the world was in the palm of your hand?
Every year, our planet produces more than enough food to feed everyone, yet somehow, 820 million people go hungry annually. This can be partially attributed to the fact that a significant portion of food is thrown away because it isn't aesthetically pleasing, has passed the "best before" date, among other reasons. Because of our wasteful attitude, 30 percent of our food lands up in landfills globally.
When the food waste reaches landfills, it undergoes anaerobic decomposition causing it to produce methane, a very potent green house gas responsible for accelerating climate change. To put things in perspective, if all of international food waste were a country, it would be the “world‘s third largest emitter of greenhouse gasses, behind the US and China,” according to National Geographic.
As shocking as it may seem, not much was being done about this truth until Torontonian Josh Domingues found out about the throwaway attitude of the food industry. He decided to bring a positive change that gave all of us a chance to reduce, if not stop, food waste. The result: Flashfood was born. Flashfood is a mobile app that shows you food products in grocery stores nearing their best before date and about to be thrown out. It then offers customers these products at a very low price. The app also lets you pay online so you don't miss them by the time you get to the store for a pickup.
Flashfood is not the only app helping tackle unnecessary waste. Bunz and Waste Wizards are also apps you should check out right now. Waste Wizard Toronto enables you to retire your stuff with dignity when they are out of commission (think Andy from Toy Story 4). Just search the item and the Waste Wizard will give you advice on where to donate or recycle it. If your things are broken and could be fixed, look for the local Repair Cafe in your area. And if you don't have one — start one!
Bunz makes you ask the question: why buy new when you can sell what you don't want in exchange for what you need? It's bringing back bartering in a big way, all you have to do is download the app, create an account and start trading! Say you need a new kitchen table, just put it into the search bar and all the kitchen tables available for trade will come up. You can even specify if you only want items within a certain distance.
Do you have other tips for tackling waste and going minimal waste? Share with us on social media with the #RotaractTO and #MinimalWasteToronto or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for any ideas or suggestions.
Aditi is a budding lawyer with international legal experience in three different counties and an environmentalist at heart. Lara Valles is the community service director for the Rotaract Club of Toronto. She started her minimal waste journey a year ago and is excited to be a part of this community of people that not only care about the environment but are doing their best to fix it.