They do let me out from time to time and yesterday I met with the food waste guru from WRAP CYMRU in their Cardiff office. It was to discuss how we prevent food going to waste, using LocalitEEE and distributing our Social currency EEECoins to help those in poverty. I was able to illustrate a virtually cost free method of doing this http://bit.ly/1zWNq9Y and he seemed to understand it. Although vaguely interested he began to give me different scenarios where it may not work. I was able assure him that all areas were covered by our platform.
Then he expressed his views that I have perhaps underestimated the willingness of a food retailer to get involved. He cited a funded project in Cardiff experimenting with food redistribution. Ok I said, that’s fair enough but we have already asked a few shops in our limited research, but I left explaining that we would be expanding our own work for the next 3 years with or without WRAP and we’d just have to see how things developed. So no official interest from WRAP yet. As an organisation they do a great job producing stats, enabling everyone else to make some important environmental decisions. However in the brave new world we need to embrace if resources are going to last, perhaps its time to give the Community some ownership of the money and let them get on with it??? Is there an Elephant in the Room?
I left wondering how much this project was really costing to find out data that we could procure so much more easily using the Community! Probably thousands? I hope to find out soon enough as this data is surely public. I’ll keep you posted if anyone involved decides to pass on the detail. Now that said I had some time to kill till my next project.
So on my way to the next appointment, I took the opportunity to visit a couple of food shops and find out about their own food waste, just a few hundred yards from the WRAP office. The first shop showed me the goods that were on their final reductions and confessed if they didn’t sell, they would would be put in their commercial waste bin. i.e. mixed with their commercial waste. The company recycled packaging, so that was good, but throwaway was at an average of £50 per day, this was a sizeable cost. (and didn’t need a project to find this out). This cost added to the Council costs for collection, will no doubt give you a good guess just how much more it would be. He even told me that a larger chain shop round the corner was throwing away around £500 per day on food waste. It’s shocking really when you think about it.
The next shop was a restaurant in one of the arcades and they had quite a bit of custom there, specialising in some fine cheeses, apart from a wide variety of other items. A quick chat with a senior person there gave me the same feedback, that they are always having to throw food away, once again, charged by Cardiff Council and once again hit by a double whammy of costs. When I explained our model, he was quick to ask for my card to pass to the owners, as they do give items to people, but admitted they’ve no way of knowing whether these people were genuinely in need. They could have been selling it on the streets for cash or anything that takes their fancy.
Both shops were keen to take my card and look at the model and thought it would be great to KNOW that food waste is prevented and they had no problem giving it away, particularly to community people who were identified by our system as not only being vulnerable, but who had been helping out in the local area, to help get them back into employment.
Our LocalitEEE system can, through partnership working, target food to those most in need and all at a fraction of the cost. I think we should question the value of taxpayers money being spent on consultancy, when it could be better directed into projects like ours, as positive outcomes and not just stats, is far better value to me. It’s close to criminal that even paying people like WRAP to find this out, when there are many excellent projects and businesses like EEESafe who are already delivering Social Benefits. Perhaps its mo wonder WRAP isn’t singing our praises just yet!