8 Inspiring Organizations that Turn Leftovers into Delectable Meals

Reducing food waste is easier than you might think

Mar 11, 2014
Special Collections: INSPIRE THE GOOD

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Every year, roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption gets lost or wasted.  That's a staggering amount considering there are so many people who go without food every day. Luckily, there are plenty of organizations working to reduce food waste by turning leftovers into meals. Here are eight of the best out there that all prove everything is recyclable.

1. RUBIES IN THE RUBBLE

WHAT: Tasty handmade chutneys made from surplus fruit and vegetables.
WHERE: London, UK
IN DETAIL: Three very determined women work part time in a purpose-built kitchen at New Spitalfields wholesale fruit and veg market to produce various chutneys, jams, and pickles. Being at the market means they are ideally situated to intercept any unsold surplus produce and quickly turn it into delicious delicacies. They also work directly with UK growers, making use of unwanted produce at various points in the supply chain.
GOING THE EXTRA MILE: They help Londoners who are struggling to get back into the workplace by giving them employment.

Screenshot from Rubies In The Rubble

2. ZERO PERCENT

WHAT: Connecting companies that have leftover food with nonprofit groups that need it.
WHERE: Chicago, USA
IN DETAIL: A system designed to help businesses move surplus edible food by posting on an online donations marketplace. Volunteers at nearby soup kitchens and shelters are automatically alerted via text or email when food is available, and use the system to accept and pick up donations.
GOING THE EXTRA MILE: When a business signs up to the plan, they learn how to reduce food waste with custom data analysis and reporting features.

Screenshot from Zero Percent

3. LEAN PATH

WHAT: LeanPath provides tracking systems to help those in the foodservice industry reduce pre-consumer food waste.
WHERE: USA and UK
IN DETAIL: State-of-the-art food waste tracking systems help chefs and managers get a better understanding of their waste before their products hit the market or reach the table. By taking pictures of the food and recording critical information, the cutting edge technology processes the data, which is transmitted wirelessly onto an online warehouse where managers can proactively manage and control food waste.
GOING THE EXTRA MILE: The comprehensive information page is a great place to learn all about food waste management.

Screenshot from LeanPath

4. FEEDING THE 5000

WHAT: A campaign aimed at empowering and inspiring the global community to enact positive solutions to the global issue of food waste.
WHERE: Worldwide
IN DETAIL: The campaign’s flagship event sees 5000 members of the public eat a delicious free lunch using only ingredients that otherwise would have been wasted. What started in London as a one-time event in 2009, has since grown into an international movement that has seen tens of thousands of meals served around the world.
GOING THE EXTRA MILE: The Gleaning Network UK helps save thousands of tonnes of fresh fruit and vegetables and directs the produce to those who need it most.

Screenshot from Feeding The 5000

5. SECOND HELPINGS

WHAT: Saving unwanted food from restaurants, wholesalers and retailers - making sure it reaches the mouths of those aren’t able to feed themselves.
WHERE: Greater Indianapolis, USA
IN DETAIL: Staff and volunteers fight hunger by rescuing excess food and turning it into hot nutritious meals that are then distributed to social services agencies.
GOING THE EXTRA MILE: Second Helpings also changes lives by offering a culinary job training program helping unemployed people master the skills for a career in catering.

Screenshot from Second Helpings

6. HANDS FOR HUNGER

WHAT: A humanitarian organization that builds meaningful and engaging community partnerships committed to reducing food waste.
WHERE: The Bahamas
IN DETAIL: By educating the local Bahamian community, Hands For Hunger increases awareness about food security and helps reallocate food resources in a more efficient way. Companies donate unwanted food and refrigerated trucks are on the road every day of the week to pick it up and make sure it's delivered within 24 hours to the hungry.
GOING THE EXTRA MILE: Become a volunteer and get the chance to help out with this awesome organization.

Screenshot from Hands For Hunger

7. LOVE FOOD HATE WASTE

WHAT: An online platform that gives practical everyday tips and advice for how to reduce food waste in the home.
WHERE: UK
IN DETAIL: Part of recycling nonprofit WRAP, Love Food Hate Waste works with chefs, businesses and community organizations through to individuals to provide recipes that help make the most of food and limit waste.
GOING THE EXTRA MILE: The handy new smartphone app helps you easily keep track of food planning and making the most of leftovers.

Screenshot from Love Food Hate Waste

8. FOOD RECOVERY NETWORK

WHAT: A platform for college students to fight waste on campus and donate surplus food to the hungry.
WHERE: Across the USA
IN DETAIL: Chapters throughout the USA divert waste food from on-campus dining halls and sports events to make sure it reaches community members who don't have the means to make their own meals. The student-run organization also helps to raise awareness about food waste and hunger in America.
GOING THE EXTRA MILE: Learn about this amazing grocery store that's zero-waste!

Screenshot from Food Recovery Network

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