OLIO – A Simple Way To Share, Conserve And Come Together.

OLIO is a new application I recently had a chance to test out. I got free food, helped out my neighbors and made a small, but positive impact on the world.

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Normally I talk about space, science, technology and exploring the universe. It’s all for nothing if we don’t conserve what we have here on Earth and treat each other more compassionately.

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When I was a young lad, as many young lads do, I took a part-time job in a supermarket. My challenging and important responsibilities included the arduous task of stocking shelves, replacing the items that people had considered buying, changed their minds and dropped off somewhere else, and removing damaged and unsold goods from shelves. Damaged goods usually meant the box was slightly worn or torn, or the tin was dented; the product inside was rarely affected. I did inquire as to the possibility of handing these goods to homeless people instead of filling landfills, but apparently they’d tried that before and got sued when a homeless guy got sick.

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Anyhow, I was always shocked and amazed at the sheer volume of wasted goods that could have been distributed; why should we throw away cereals and sweets when we have people starving on the streets outside? And wastage doesn’t only occur in shops and restaurants; it happens in almost every single home as well. You pop to the shops on an empty stomach, fill your trolley with pizzas, quiches and meringues before ordering a Chinese for dinner. You put the goods in the fridge, it rests for 5 days, grows a few green furry bits and we trash it. 5.8 Million Potatoes are binned every single day in the UK. Around a third of all produce made is never eaten. It gets binned and most doesn’t go into compost heaps as it should.

So how do we fix this?

I stumbled upon a new application called OLIO. After downloading the app, I was fascinated by the concept and reached out to Tessa Cook, CEO of OLIO, who explained a little further:

OLIO is a free app tackling the problem of good food being thrown away by connecting neighbors with each other and with local independent shops & cafes so that surplus food can be shared, not thrown away. Users (consumers or independent businesses) simply snap a picture of their items and add them to OLIO, where neighbors receive customized alerts and can request anything that takes their fancy. Pick-up then takes place at the home/store, an OLIO Drop Box, or another agreed location.

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Since piloting in North London last summer, OLIO went London wide in December, and nationwide at the end of January. In this short time the app has has been downloaded over 110k times, selected as a “Best new app” in the App Store three times, featured on ITV and BBC London News and used to enable over 150,000 items of food to be shared. Demand for the surplus food is incredibly high, with 40% of all items being requested in less than an hour, and 70-90% of all items being picked up. Perhaps most excitingly however, we have had over 7,000 people (and growing every day) contact us to join our Ambassador Programme, which equips our grass roots volunteers with the tools to kick-start OLIO within local communities all over the UK.

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We have also recently launched a “Food Waste Heroes” programme which we pioneered with Sainsburys whereby small groups of OLIO volunteers are matched with a local business such as a bakery, supermarket, deli, street food market, cafe etc. These volunteers then provide a free service to that business whereby they collect any unsold food at the end of the day and re-distribute it to the local community via the OLIO app. A real win: win for everybody!

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Credit: The Telegraph

So I recommend downloading OLIO for free today.

You could help the community out, gain new friends and reduce the waste going into landfill sites. You might even find a few tasty treats on offer yourself.

Would you use this application? Comment below or on my Facebook page

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