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The 10 best circular apps for zipping your food waste

Updated: Sep 17, 2021

New circular tools are trending worldwide: Apps for reducing food waste.

I’ve already talked about the problems with food waste and how circular packaging can help.

Now, it’s time to spice up our food security strategy with some high-tech seasoning.

Food technology wizards have developed an app-etite for solutions to food waste.

So, make some room in your smartphone's belly to swallow some digital treats.


1. Olio

If you’re after a universal solution to the problems with food waste, look no further.

Olio’s free sharing application has spread like butter on toast. It’s currently being used in 51 countries worldwide.

Following a social design for circular economy, the app connects you with your famished neighbours so that you can give them your unwanted or excess food.

Whenever you’ve got a leftover, just take a shot of it and post it on the app. Once you set up the pick up location (your place or somewhere public), the most hungry user will reach out to you and come to collect it.

Taking from the rich (in food) to give to the poor, Olio is like a modern Robin Hood, or Food, with no stealing involved.

Although there’s a section for on-sale food, everything else is free!

Based on a recent study, in less than 2 years the peer-to-peer food-sharing app has saved up to 156 tons of carbon dioxide. This is the carbon footprint of charging around 19 million smartphones!

Olio's food rescue app accomplishes a two-fold mission. Reducing food waste (and its carbon footprint) while strengthening the local community.

Zipping mode: Food rescue

Carbon footprint saved: 19 million smartphones’ charge

Available in: 51 countries

Download on: Google Play or App Store

This company “came app” with a luscious idea on how to reduce food waste in restaurants, cafes, hotels, shops and supermarkets.

Unlike Olio, this app lets you buy unsold meals at the end of the day for a discounted price. It’s not free but it’s still a fair deal!

The fun thing is you won’t know what you get until you pick up what they call a “Magic Bag”. But that makes it even more app-ealing!

Too Good To Go estimated that each of the mysterious meals you get will reduce as much CO2 as that released by charging your smartphone 422 times!

While not as cosmopolitan as Olio, the Too Good To Go anti-food waste app can be used in 12 nations across Europe.

If you happen to be around there, join their movement and become a food waste warrior!

Zipping mode: Food rescue

Carbon footprint saved: 422 smartphones’ charge

Available in: 12 countries (Europe only)

Download on: Google Play or App Store

Credit to Too Good To Go

If you still want to get eco-friendly bargain meals but don't like surprises, you should go for Karma then.

Unlike when using Too Good To Go, you’ll know exactly what you’ll order.

Once you register for the app, with a few clicks you can browse and follow your favourite eateries which they’ll give you a buzz as leftover deals become available.

But not just already-cooked food goes to waste.

Besides restaurants, cafes and bakeries, Karma is going to the root of the food loss problem.

The Swedish company is giving a new life to the so-called “ugly” fruits & veggies which would otherwise be thrown away by groceries and end up in a landfill.

You can tap into the app potential to locate the nearest Karma-friendly grocery and rescue the "imperfect" soon-to-expire produce from the store deli or from a pink Karma smart fridge.

Ugly food may be imperfect in shape or colour, but they’ve got the same nutritional value and taste sustainably beautiful!

After becoming viral in Sweden, Karma peacefully invaded the UK domain in 2018.

Since then, around 2,000 outlets, including Coco di Mama, Fabrique and Island Poke, joined in, making Karma one of the most popular food waste apps in London.

Since it was founded in 2016, Karma food recovery mission has avoided 1,800 tonnes of CO2 from leaking into the air. That’s the carbon footprint of charging 200 million smartphones!

Zipping mode: Food rescue

Carbon footprint saved: 200 million smartphones’ charge

Available in: UK (Brighton and London), France (Paris and Toulouse), Sweden

Download on: Google Play or App Store

In the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region alone, each person wastes a burger flipping 250 kg of food per year!

Tekeya is closing the gap (and the loop) between food suppliers and consumers pretty much the same way as Too Good To Go does.

Like Karma, Tekeya also saves the “ugly” produce from a high-carbon trip to landfill.

However, compared to the previous anti-food waste apps, Tekeya has got a social zipping element. That’s because you can also donate food surplus and imperfect produce to charities, with 75 certified organisations already on board.

Featured as a case study in the Circularity Gap Report 2020, the Egyptian startup’s circular economy initiative avoided 20 tons of CO2 emissions. As much as that released by charging your phone more than 2 million times!

Zipping mode: Food rescue

Carbon footprint saved: 2 million smartphones’ charge

Available in: Egypt (and in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from 2022)

Download on: Google Play or App Store

Credit to Tekeya

All of the apps above buzz around the same concept: Food rescue from eating places.

But how can you reduce food waste at home?

NoWaste will help with that.

How does that work?

Think of a food inventory smart assistant.

Whenever you buy something, you scan its barcode to record it onto the app. You can then create a list of what you’ve got left in the freezer, fridge and pantry.

Basically, you’ll have a picture of your virtual kitchen!

Plus, you can order items by expiry date and be notified when they’re about to go off. That way you’ll know what to cook/eat first.

Tracking your stock, you’ll avoid unnecessary food shopping, saving both food waste and money.

On top of that, using the meal planner feature you’ll be organized throughout the week so you won’t stress out at the last minute figuring out what to make for dinner.

And for a bit of healthy competition, you can compare your savings with other users.

Zipping mode: Food inventory optimisation

Carbon footprint saved: n/a

Available in: UK

Download on: Google Play or App Store

After hearing how much food and money his friends were throwing away, the Kitche founder,

Alex Vlassopulos, had a (kitchen) light bulb moment.

Using his smart tool, you could save up to £630 off your annual food shopping bill.

That’d be plenty of extra fancy dinners! But what’s the trick?

With a similar approach to NoWaste, Alex is bringing the digital flavour inside your kitchen a byte...or bite...above.

Instead of scanning each single item like with NoWaste, Kitche lets you snap the full receipt of your shopping.

The app will then sort out what you bought by dairy, snacks, and other categories.

So, now you’re faced with the ultimate challenge. Making a meal!

Don’t panic! Just download Kitche. The app will be your personal chef assistant too!

You can fish from the app database, offering around 10,000 recipes for inspiration, including vegan and vegetarian options.

Besides managing your stock, the app was designed to help you spot and correct your wrong habits when handling food.

For instance, Kitche gives you access to a library of articles about how to reduce food waste at your place.

Also, you can track whatever you toss away so you have a tangible figure of the food you’re wasting and how much is costing you.

And more cool features are coming up soon. Games, impact badges.

Get ready to turn your food chores into a fun part of your day!

Zipping mode: Food inventory optimisation

Carbon footprint saved: n/a

Available in: UK

Download on: Google Play or App Store

Credit to Kitche

As you can see, apps can help you rescue food and be organised with your shopping. Which is great!

But you’ve still got more food (waste) for thought: Packaging!

Yet, there are some apps that will let you feast on the circular packaging banquet as well.

Like barePack, for instance.

Baring its teeth against single-use packaging, this company is replacing it with their reusable containers and cups.

You can either get a takeaway or order online using some of the best apps for food delivery, like Deliveroo, GrabFood or foodpanda. In both cases, you can use the barePack app to borrow their circular packaging as many times as you want and return it whenever you can.

Over 150 restaurants in Singapore and 100+ in Paris have already joined the barePack mission to keep disposable waste to a bare minimum.

Zipping mode: Circular food packaging

Carbon footprint saved: n/a

Available in: Singapore, France

Download on: Google Play or App Store

8. Giki (“Get Informed, Know your Impact”)

Isn’t it frustrating when a label doesn’t tell you if a product packaging is recyclable?

The staff in the biggest shops may help you figure it out but perhaps you’re in a rush and can’t be bothered to ask them or wait for them to double check.

Well, believe it or not, “there’s an app for that!”

Giki Badges, your foodiepedia on your smartphone.

This app will give you a real time fact-check on food’s sustainability standards.

But how does it work?

The app awards badges to products based on eco-credentials, like the “Recyclable packaging” one for instance.

Just scan a product barcode and see if it wins that badge. If it does, you should get it, as the packaging won’t end up in a landfill.

But you can go beyond reducing food packaging waste.

Based on other badges like “Low carbon footprint”, “Responsibly sourced”, or “Sustainable palm oil”, you’ll dig out the history of the product supply chain and compare it to alternative ones.

And it's not just about the environment. The app help you choose the best food for your health too!

By keeping an eye on the "Organic", "No Chemicals of Concern", "Free from Additives" and "Healthier Option", you'll make sure to handpick only the healthiest options.

Run by the Giki Social Enterprise, the Giki Badges app will help you make eco-conscious choices when food shopping.

P.S.: Check out the Giki Zero app too to calculate, track and reduce your carbon footprint.

Zipping mode: Circular food packaging

Carbon footprint saved: n/a

Available in: UK

Download on: Google Play or App Store

The circular packaging high-tech dream is coming true around the world.

Moving to Chile, Algramo (literally, “by the gram”) developed an innovative reusable container that has got a radio-frequency identification (RFID) tag.⠀

Sounds complicated... but it’s actually very simple!⠀

  • Buy Algramo lifetime smart packaging⠀

  • Download their app, order what you need and schedule an electric tricycle delivery⠀

  • Pay as your container gets refilled ⠀

They've also launched IoT-connected vending machines where you can refill your smart packaging.⠀

Rice, pet food, you name it, Algramo refills it!⠀

Join their zero food waste revolution 1 gram at a time!

Zipping mode: Circular food packaging

Carbon footprint saved: n/a

Available in: Chile, US, Indonesia

Download on: Google Play or App Store

10. Refill

Phew! That was a lot of food to go through… I think it’s time for a drink to flush it all down, right?

Let’s do it the circular way though to reduce plastic pollution.


Just open the tap and close the loop!

I hope you’ve already got a reusable metal flask you carry around wherever you go. If not, get yourself one!

Anyway, once we’re on the same page, the next step is to find the nearest refilling station (including public water fountains) to you by using the Refill app.

And it’s not going to be difficult. There are 30,000 refilling points in the UK alone and 274,000 worldwide.

If you’re a business owner, you can map your company as one of the refilling points. Which is awesome!

Using this “app for tap”, you’ll stay hydrated while saving tons of plastic bottles!

Join the “refilleroo” community today!

Zipping mode: Circular food packaging

Carbon footprint saved: n/a

Available in: UK and many more

Download on: Google Play or App Store

An app-etising future

There you go. An updated digest on the best apps to reduce your food waste.

Food rescue, shopping organisation, circular food packing. This bunch of gourmet eco-friendly apps is a powerful cocktail to slim your food waste intake.

It’s “app” to you now!


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