Restaurants throw food away all the time. People in general throw away food all the time. Food waste is one of the many ways humans are destroying the world. Together, the United States, Europe, and Asia throw away enough food to feed the whole world’s population three times over. The average restaurant in the U.S. wastes about 100,000 pounds of food a year. Some of them donate that leftover food, but not many. For the most part, it all goes right into the trash, save that free bagel you might be able to score from the bakery near closing time. But now, as with so many other forms of garbage, there’s an app for that.
Too Good To Go (only available in the U.K. at the moment) allows users to search for participating restaurants in their area who are offering to box up their excess food for a price somewhere between $2.60 and $5.30. Users pay in-app and set up a time window to pick up their food up to an hour before closing, which comes packaged inside an environmentally friendly sugarcane box. That food won’t be scraps or partially eaten plate scrapings either; rather, it’s complete dishes, of the same quality you’d expect at normal prices. For the restaurants, it makes sense to sell it—even at a deep discount—rather than toss it. And for users, it’s a simple way to score cheap food.
Too Good To Go launched in Denmark last year before the team expanded to Brighton and Leeds, and it’s currently in the process of rolling out in London. If it continues to prove successful, it shouldn’t be long before it expands internationally. According to the Too Good To Go website, in just the span of six months, the app has already “helped prevent approximately over 200 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions and provided thousands of meals that would have otherwise been discarded to those in need.”