Kildare households are helping reduce food waste and carbon emissions.
Food waste in Ireland is estimated at over 19,000 tonnes a week.
New research reveals that sending 1kg of food to a landfill produces the same carbon emissions as dumping 25,000 plastic bottles.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data shows an estimated one million tonnes of food are wasted in Ireland each year, costing approximately €700 per household annually and equivalent to 3.6million tonnes of carbon dioxide collectively.
However, Kildare householders are helping stem the rising tide of dumped food in Ireland.
The county is the third most active when it comes to users of OLIO, a new food sharing app which connects neighbours to give away unwanted food and other items that may otherwise end up in landfill.
Even before its rollout in Ireland this week, word of mouth has meant OLIO already has over 36,000 sign-ups, with users giving away 10,500 food portions.
People can give away food and other unwanted household items by uploading a photo and description on the app, plus details about where and when to collect it.
Others can then request these by searching or browsing through the listings, where they will see what’s available nearby.
After Dublin and Cork householders, Kildare consumers are the most active users of the app.
“People in Kildare seem to have an innate sense of community and food is valued. They also like to give and care about each other and the planet,” said OLIO co-founder and CEO, Tessa Clarke.
She was inspired to build the app in the UK five years ago after struggling to find anyone to take the unwanted food from her fridge when she was moving house.
“By enabling people to easily share more and waste less, we aim to help transform our throw-away society into a giveaway society.
“People in my area are into recycling and waste reduction in a big way, so items are usually requested within an hour or two,” she said.
OLIO’s own research uncovered that a third of people feel “physical pain” when they throw away good food.
OLIO’s rollout here comes off the back of a €36 million funding announced in September that will enable it to accelerate its international expansion plans.
In five years, OLIO has acquired over 5 million community members worldwide.
Over 34 million portions of food have been shared, with the pandemic increasing the number of listings coming onto the app by five-fold.
The app can be downloaded from Google Play and Apple app stores. The desktop version is also accessible via olioex.com