REd ALIMENTA is an organization made up of volunteers that collects the surplus food from restaurants and delivers it to people in need.
In 2016, according to official statistics, every week 25.000 tons of food was wasted in Spain.
Moreover, in 2016, more than 21 per cent of Spanish population were at the risk of poverty or social exclusion.
With the aim of fighting against food waste and social inequity locally, REd ALIMENTA started working in 2017 in the city of Toledo.
On the one hand, the Association has a volunteer’s network from different neighbourhoods of the city, that collects from restaurants, schools or hospitals the excess of food that has already been cooked and delivers it to the neighbours’ house in glass containers using refrigerated backpacks. This food is ready and in good condition to eat, and, by taking advantage of it, they avoid wasting not only the food, but also the resources used in the cooking process, and contribute to sustainability.
On the other hand, they fight against social inequity while aiding to strengthen personal relations and making everyone feel included in the system. In May of 2019, 34 families were taking advantage of this programme, several of them were users of the Social Services of the town. The association don´t exclude any person on grounds of their religion, human race, culture or background. They collaborate with the Social Service of the town and are in contact with different associations in order to reach more people.
In addition, they give talks to children in schools to show them the importance of having responsible consumption habits.
- Human: 7 coordinators, 55 volunteers and 37 partners.
- Financial: contributions from partners and people who collaborate with the association with a monthly, quarterly or annual contribution, receiving a monthly average of 280 €, that they spend in material and the volunteers insurance.
Evidence of success
- From May to December of 2017 they avoided wasting more than 1 ton of food.
- During 2018 they avoided wasting approximately 5.5 tons of food.
- 50 people have taken advantage of the surplus generated.
- In 2019, they were awarded with a special mention in the Regional Environment Awards.
The implementation of these actions is hampered by abundant administrative bureaucracy, and more support from the local or regional administration is needed.
To have the validation of Sanitary Authorities, they had to create a portfolio with the safety measures they were going to take.
Potential for learning or transfer
This project is a great example of good practice related to bio-based circular economy, and could have a high potential of transfer, because food waste and people in need are problems that many European cities have to face to a greater or lesser extent.
The project is easy to replicate, has a strong potential to impact environment and people’s lives, and does not need a large budget.
A volunteer network is needed, and the collaboration of restaurants and public institutions with food service. Maybe the main difficulties are those related to the validation of the Sanitary Authorities.
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