Researchers from Edith Cowan University in WA have developed an app that connects food businesses with charities so businesses can easily and simply donate excess food. The ReFood app connects local restaurants and cafes with community not-for-profit organisations who redistribute excess food to those who need it.
While many larger food producers and retailers already have arrangements with food banks, the app allows local cafes to give away even small volumes of food directly to any not-for-profit organisation.
The app is the brainchild of ECU School of Medical and Health Sciences PhD candidate Ele Stojanoaka and was developed thanks to a $12,798 grant from the Waste Authority WA’s Community Grants Scheme.
“The main aim of the ReFood app is to both reduce the amount of food waste going into landfill and also making it much easier for small businesses to link up with not-for-profits to share food,” Ele says.
“The app is very simple to use. All a business has to do is download the app, then when they have excess food they can enter it into the app along with a time that it can be collected. Then a not-for-profit organisation can see what’s available and—if the food is suitable for their needs—come and collect it.
“It even shows what food has been donated so businesses can have a record of what they have given away.”
Waste Authority Acting Chair Jenny Bloom says the ReFood app would help to achieve the target of diverting 65 per cent of municipal solid waste from landfill by 2020.
“Initiatives like the ReFood app can help increase awareness and education around our understanding of the benefits of waste avoidance, reuse and recycling,” she says.
Ele is currently analysing the data collected in the recent trial of the ReFood app in the City of Swan. “We’re keen to work with local governments to get the ReFood app rolled out across Perth,” she says.