by Maksym Mazypchuk, Local Correspondent from Ukraine.
Nowadays, many bakery products are thrown in the trash. Food charity OzHarvest states that a third of all food produced globally is wasted. For Marianna Marshalenko, this is something personal. She has six years of experience in the Hospitality industry, where she implemented various projects related to Planet safety and Society in need. Frustrated with the existing situation, she decided to change things and applied with her idea to the 2020 Online EaP Civil Society Hackathon. Marianna brought her proposal of developing an e-platform for reducing wasted food and feeding animals. She is planning to create a massive network of animal shelters, volunteer drivers, and restaurants. On the online EaP Civil Society Hackathon, designers, programmers, and mentors will help her to reach her goal and provide support to animal shelters.
«When I used to work in the hospitality industry, I noticed that the bread from the guests’ table was thrown in the trash. It is not mindful usage: animal shelters use bread as a supplement food, and they have to buy it. So I tried to collect bread at the hotel and send it to shelters. A lot was done – from communication with hotel staff to installing a special basket for bread. I organized a process of delivering food to shelters. However, when I left the institution, the process stopped because there was no one responsible for it. Actually, with the realization of the idea of the e-platform such coordination will not be needed anymore. The platform will connect all the project stakeholders directly – HoReCa companies, animal shelters, and logistic companies/volunteers. And I am incredibly glad that, according to the results of the jury voting, this project ranked first at the ideathon and reached the final stage of the hackathon. So, now I will have a team to develop a project prototype», Marianna Marshalenko, EaP Fellow, Project initiator.
Many business owners in Kyiv do not like throwing surplus bread in the bin, but they do not have many options to recycle waste for now. The average hotel throws 70 kilograms of bread in the trash, which can be used for feeding animals. However, the largest shelter «Sirius» has to buy 1,5 tons of bread for 2500 animals per month. This spending still constitutes a substantial portion of their monthly expenses. Sirius is the largest registered non-profit rescue center now in Ukraine. The shelter relies solely on public support to operate.
Participation in a food waste recycling program (with a network of local grocers/restaurants) offers them an opportunity to reduce monthly food expenses. For now the project team is developing the e-platform only for the Kyiv region. However if successful, the idea could be easily replicated all around the country. For restaurants, participating in the program offers an opportunity to reduce their (landfill) waste footprint. The platform will connect HoReCa companies with shelters, which will be able to save money for other important activities. Marianna is planning to bring together volunteers and businesses to help animals.
«HoReCa companies, logistics companies will be able to join the platform easily. It will be enough to register on the platform. At the same time, drivers will choose the radius of the establishments from which it is convenient for them to pick up the food. Initially, the project is launched in the Kyiv region, but the platform immediately provides the possibility of replication for other cities in Ukraine. The platform is under development, but the project is already underway, and some hotels or restaurants are ready to join – fill out a short form», Marianna Marshalenko.
The «No Bread Waste» e-platform can successfully recover a significant portion of wasted food and make it available at no cost to animal shelters. The project team had two weeks to consult mentors, participate in webinars, and work on their prototype during the hackathon. On the Hackathon’s final day, the team found out that their solution was pre-selected for the EaP Civil Society Digitalisation Award, alongside 6 other ideas presented and prototyped at the 2020 Hackathon.
This article was produced by Maksym Mazypchuk, the Project’s local correspondent and EaP Civil Society Fellow from Ukraine in the framework of the EU-funded ‘Eastern Partnership Civil Society Facility – Regional Actions’ Project. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Maksym Mazypchuk and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union or the Project.
Read more about our local correspondents here.