Skip to main content
The New Food Scrap Collectors

The New Food Scrap Collectors

Leftover, unwanted and scrap food is becoming an economy in its own right and you might be surprised at both who is involved and how they are dealing with your unwanted food and scraps. (Which are two different things btw.)

Social Scraps

One of the best ways to usefully get rid of scraps (and make new friends at the same time) is through Sharewaste. Sharewaste is a free worldwide app that enables people to connect with other community members and recycle their organic waste. 

The way it works is simple and based on your need. You choose to be either a host (who has a compost, worm farm or keep chickens) or a donor (who are looking to recycle their household organic waste).  Hosts register their compost, worm farm or chickens, which appears as a marker on the map. Donors can then find hosts on the map, contact them via our in-app messaging system and start contributing their scraps on a regular basis. You each negotiate your arrangement for whatever fair deal suits you.

Scraps Collectors

There is a whole new industry growing up around scraps collections. Many start out taking scraps and leftovers from businesses and like Mallow Sustainability in Brisbane, end up supporting households as well as businesses. 

There has been a big rise in businesses collecting coffee grounds from cafes. Coffee grinds are compost gold and can be used for a wide variety of applications. Life Cykel use them to grow gourmet mushrooms in their shipping container farms and sell the mushrooms back to both the food service industry and online, directly to consumers.

Life Cykel is a fantastic closed loop production story. Even the coffee grind 'soil' is reused. Once the mushrooms have fruited and been picked, the mushroom infested coffee grindings are sold as a soil amendment for local gardens.

Reground in Melbourne collect coffee grinds from cafes, roasters and offices. Reground run a comparatively simple, but really useful intermediary model. They supply cafes, roasters and offices with a bin and collect your grounds once the bin is full. They then deliver the grinds to community gardens and anyone who wants them really, all over Melbourne. 

The Inconvenience Store in Thornbury, Melbourne is stocked with rescued food rescued by the Food Without Borders team. I really like this model as it offers a kind of mid point collection for businesses who don't have a lot of food left over, but who still don't want to waste it. For consumers, The Inconvenience Store is a pay what you can afford model. The food comes from shops and markets who could no longer sell it, so they pass it on to people in the community who need it via Food Without Borders.

Be your own scrap collector

You can also be your own food scrap collector and even save money in a number of different ways:

  • Buy less food in the first place by planning your week and setting budgets
  • Get a composter that suits your lifestyle through someone like The Compost Revolution
  • If you have a few dollars (like around $900), get a Smart Cara and turn your scraps into fertilizer in less than 4 hours

Further note for bigger businesses

If you are a business, including wholesalers and manufacturers, you have many options for food rescue, ranging from groups who collect for distribution through shelters to those who take food for supermarkets and cafes, where customers pay what they can afford, even if it is nothing.

Lentil as Anything operates 4 locations in Melbourne.  Oz Harvest, Foodbank and others like them collect from the big supermarket chains as well as many others and supply consumers nationally, passing food to thousands of people across Australia every day.

(Foodbank accepts food donations from individuals as well. Please note that all donations are covered by ‘Good Samaritan’ legislation.)

There is also Yume - an online marketplace that connects larger quantity wholesale suppliers and buyers, helping to prevent food waste by re-distributing quality surplus food at discount rates to retail buyers.

Images: Unsplash - Brooke Lark | Sharewaste | Mallow Sustainability | Life Cykel

Something incorrect here? Suggest an update below: