About this good practice
While tons of food are being wasted each year, more and more people living in vulnerable situations cannot secure their food. Foodsavers Mechelen does not only collect and redistribute food surpluses from supermarkets and auctions that would go to waste. It also provides social employment to the people who collect and sort the collected food in the distribution centre. Ecoso vzw, one of the main actors in social and circular economy of the region which is running the second hand shops in the area (Kringwinkels), is the main project partner of the City of Mechelen in this project.
The food collected is high-quality, mainly fresh vegetables, fruit, meat and dairy, which has not exceeded the expiration date but which cannot be sold any longer. Sometimes, also dry food and non food items are given to Foodsavers. At this moment, each week counts for 30 deliveries of free food to social organisations in Mechelen and the public social welfare centres of two neighbouring municipalities (Putte and Bornem). We make sure that each target organisation is getting the specific food that they need, so food is not ending up in the garbage at this end of the chain. The target organisations (social organisation) distribute the food for free to their public, either raw or prepared.
The Interreg 2 Seas programme provides 60% funding for a full-time project employee, to pay an external operator in social economy (Ecoso) for the logistics, to pay for a refrigerator truck, etc. The total amount of funding is 649.914 euro.
Evidence of success
- 15 organisations, reaching out to 400 households receiving free food
- Over 11.000 kg of food surpluses collected per month (1 kg food waste equals 4 kg CO2)
- Job creation: 8 new employment processes
Potential for learning or transfer
- A lot of people are concerned about the topic – high mobilisation potential
- The food production chain is one of the major CO2 emitters, so reducing waste has a big impact on pollution and air quality