Limerick waste heroes prevent 582kg of food being dumped

Olio co-founder Tessa Clarke.

A free sharing app has prevented the equivalent of 312,000 meals from going to waste in just over a year – with 582kg of food saved by Limerick users alone.

Since Olio first partnered with Tesco Ireland in November last year, the app’s army of ‘Food Waste Heroes’ volunteers has collected the equivalent of 6,000 meals a week from the supermarket’s stores to redistribute for free.

Limerick took the fourth spot for the most active Food Waste Hero community to date, with volunteers visiting Tesco Ireland supermarkets to collect unsold food still fit for consumption and list it for free on the app so that others can collect and consume it.

“With food waste often at its highest this time of year, it is great to see such an active community of people in Limerick joining together to fight waste, while helping out their neighbours,” said Olio co-founder and chief executive Tessa Clarke.

“Our partnership with Tesco Ireland has resulted in 656,000 items of food being diverted from going to waste in just over a year.

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“Food waste accounts for one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions and is the single largest emitting sector.

“If we are to fix the climate crisis, preventing food waste should be a priority.”

Fruit and veg (37%) accounted for the most shared items, followed by dairy and eggs (32%) and bakery (24%).

OLIO user, Gemma Scudder, 33, signed up as a Food Waste Hero in May and collects from four different Tesco Ireland stores five days a week.

She has listed 1,868 food items to date and given products to 175 people, saving the equivalent of almost 23,000 meals and 7.2million litres of water.

“We signed up thinking it could be a good way to make a few friends locally, while preventing food waste,” she said.

“We went from not knowing anyone in our locality to now knowing so many, so it’s been a massively positive experience, especially since I used to struggle with socialising and even just going out the door.

“Since we get to keep 10 per cent of our collections, the savings to our food bill have also been beyond what we ever expected. Our €1,500 monthly spend on food is now only €400.”

More than 1,800 people in Ireland have signed up to be Food Waste Heroes since November last year, with 534 collections made each week across the country.

“Tesco Ireland has been donating surplus food through its partnership with FoodCloud since 2014. Last year we made the decision to partner with Olio to help us expand our surplus food donations programme,” said Rosemary Garth, Communications Director, Tesco Ireland.

“This step was another major milestone towards helping us achieve our ambition to ensure that no good food goes to waste.

“Thanks to Olio and their team of flexible volunteers, in 2022 we were able to increase our Christmas food rescue efforts, making sure as much food as possible ended up feeding people in the communities that surround our stores.”

“Based on donations over the last year, we estimate that 2,400 meals will be rescued by Olio food waste heroes this Christmas Eve alone.”

The Olio app can be downloaded from Google Play and Apple app stores. The desktop version is also accessible through