New Waze Partnership 'Drives' Food Waste Down

Waze takes a bite out of climate change by helping commuters find surplus food.

Too Good to Go food bag

Too Good to Go

The user-driven navigation app Waze is designed to help drivers steer their way around all sorts of messy situations, from traffic jams and vehicle crashes to speed traps and construction zones. Now, in its own way, it’s helping them maneuver through an entirely different kind of challenge: climate change.

It’s doing so with the assistance of Too Good To Go, an app that helps users find surplus food items that would otherwise go in the garbage. Instead of throwing it away, stores and restaurants with unsold food use the app to sell it to consumers at discounted rates.

According to Too Good To Go, which claims to be the largest business-to-consumer marketplace for surplus food, it’s a "win-win-win" for food, for people, and for the planet. "Users get delicious meals at a great price, businesses reach new customers and recover sunk costs, and the planet has less wasted food to deal with," the company explains on its website, where it describes food waste as an "enormous strain" on the Earth.

"Entire forests are cleared to grow produce that will never be eaten, and scientists have discovered how food releases harmful greenhouse gases when it’s disposed of unsustainably," continues the company, whose mission recently was bolstered by conservation organization WWF. In a report published last month, it declared that food waste accounts for 10% of all greenhouse gas emissions globally.

"Food loss and waste is a huge problem that can be minimized, which in turn could reduce the impact of food systems on nature and climate," WWF Global Food Loss and Waste Initiative Lead Pete Pearson said in a statement.

Surplus food sales could be part of the solution, suggests Waze, which will be showing branded Too Good To Go pins on its map. Each pin represents a store or restaurant that is selling surplus food—either prepared meals or raw ingredients—through the app. Among participating businesses, for example, are Juice Press, PLNT Burger, and Stumptown Coffee Roasters.

"While using Waze, tap Too Good To Go pins to see information about local restaurants, bakeries, and grocery stores on our app and reserve a surprise bag of delicious, surplus food for just one-third the price," Too Good To Go U.S. Content Marketing Manager Joy Glass writes in a post for the company’s blog. "In the U.S. alone, 40% of all edible food is wasted each year, and we hope to inspire Waze users to join us in the fight against food waste."

For now, the pins will be visible on Waze only until Sept. 10 and only in five U.S. cities—New York; Philadelphia; Portland, Ore.; Seattle; and Washington, D.C. Eventually, however, Waze hopes to expand the pilot as part of its Waze For Good initiative, Fast Company reports in a recent article about the partnership.

Waze For Good is a new program through which Waze sponsors all of its charitable initiatives. The Google-owned company piloted it for two years and formally launched it at the end of 2020 by adding 74,000 food banks to the Waze map.

"Our community is really big on giving back and helping each other," Waze Principal Account Manager Andrew Pilecki tells Fast Company. Waze users' enthusiasm for being helpful applies not only to traffic, but also to sustainability. "Anytime you’re in your car," Pilecki continues, "if we can save you a couple minutes—and save some emissions along the way—we’re extremely excited about that."

Waze devotees already consider themselves to be road warriors. Too Good To Go hopes its collaboration with Waze will make them "waste warriors," too. Concludes Glass, "Our partnership gives Waze users the opportunity to continue making conscious decisions about the businesses they support and their individual impact on the environment."

View Article Sources
  1. "Driven to Waste." World Wildlife Fund.