New App Aims to Reduce Food Waste By Trading Leftovers With Strangers

Categories: Technology

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Sometimes you just can't finish your pizza. | Jennifer Silverberg

Over at Gut Check, we often eat anything and everything, but sometimes, even we get full. So we box up our leftovers in some handy tupperware (or not -- there may or may not be a half-eaten Imo's pizza on our counter right now) and throw it in the fridge. But what is a food-lover to do when you just can't eat those leftovers before they go bad? Why, swap with a neighbor, of course!

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- St. Louisans Love Leftovers, Yet We're Still a Wasteful Lot

LeftoverSwap, designed by Dan Newman and Bryan Summersett, is the latest social-networking app, albeit one that claims to have a higher purpose: reducing food waste. A handy chart on the app's website shows that if you use LeftoverSwap, you can save the Northern Spotted Owl!

"That part obviously is not serious," Newman assures Gut Check, "but the fossil fuels and the food waste, that's true. The amount of fossil fuels that we use to farm all this extra food that we don't eat is a big waste -- that's all it is."

Newman and Summersett came up with the idea three years ago when they got a ton of pizza and couldn't fit the leftover slices in the refrigerator. "I swear, this story is true," Newman laughs. "We just joked around if there was some sort of website where you could post your leftovers and people could claim them. We laughed at it then, but now with everyone carrying around little GPS computers in their pockets, it's actually very feasible."

Basically, you can say you have leftovers or say you want leftovers, and see who's nearby. LeftoverSwap says 40 percent of our food goes to waste, and 25 percent of us don't know our neighbors' names. It also says that 99 percent of us don't need a second helping of beef lo mein. (Gut Check begs to differ, but we get the point.) The app is set to launch in August, pending approval from the Apple App Store, and all you need is two people in your area to start.

We have to wonder if this is really safe, or, on the other hand, if it can actually build community relations. You can sign up to be notified when the app is live here -- and let us know if you'll be using it!

Gut Check is always hungry for tips and feedback. Email the author at nancy.stiles@riverfronttimes.com or follow her on Twitter.






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