Scaling Tech-Empowered Food Recovery
Replate creates environmental impact by supporting communities with robust technology to rescue food. Replate’s platform enables businesses with surplus food to seamlessly donate it to communities across the US, helping to mitigate the environmental harm caused by food waste and food insecurity. Our algorithm diverts food from being sent to landfill and matches donations to the most appropriate nonprofit organization based on location, capacity, and cultural fit. We also provide data-driven insights to reduce waste at the source.
What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?
Climate and Environment
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?
Expand existing project, program, or initiative
What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?
Pursuing this mission has never been more important, as food waste is one of the largest instigators of the climate emergency. According to a study conducted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, “if food waste were a country, it would be the third largest emitting country [of greenhouse gases] in the world”. ReFED, a national nonprofit dedicated to ending food loss and waste across the U.S. food system, performed extensive research and found that in 2019, the U.S. let a huge 35% of the 229 million tons of food available go unsold or uneaten. And that uneaten food in the U.S. consumes 18% of all cropland use and 14% of all freshwater use. Given the size of subsequent environmental impacts, the U.S. government has set a 50% landfill diversion goal, that aims to cut the amount of food that goes into landfills and incineration in half by 2030.
Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.
Replate will address food waste through two meaningful approaches. We will reduce food waste by scaling our food recovery to serve a larger base of businesses. Second, we will develop our source reduction technology to proactively reduce the level of excess food generated. By recovering food waste and preventing food waste at the source, Replate will meaningfully reduce the amount of edible food sent to landfill, which will reduce pollution and improve the environment for Angelenos. Funding will support Replate’s expansion to serve a greater number of partners in our active markets. We are targeting to sign at least 100 new food donor businesses within LA in 12 months. Our goal is to deliver at least 800,000 meals annually through this program. From an environmental perspective, this target means we will divert at least 1,400 tons of CO2 emissions and save over 370 million gallons of water from being wasted on additional food production in 12 months. The funding will also support Replate’s unique source reduction technology. Replate’s platform tracks the sources of food waste from businesses and provides insights into reducing the amount of waste generated. For example, if a food donor consistently generates an excess supply of rice every week, Replate’s technology will highlight this trend so that the ordering team can begin reducing the volume of rice sourced to align with demand. In better managing resources, businesses are able to effectively reduce environmental harm.
Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.
Short term: Replate will build relationships and resources for LA businesses to better manage food supply. Tangibly, LAC will no longer send ~35% of food produced to landfills and in doing so, Angelenos will not be exposed to as many pollutants that deteriorate community health. Replate will support LAC’s implementation of SB1383 targeting reduced food waste. Long term: LAC’s food chain will be more resilient, with technology to connect surplus food. By improving the food supply chain, LAC will benefit from a more circular economy. Resources that would have been put towards landfills can be dedicated to communities. The ecosystem will be less strained for land, labor, water, fuel, and more; energy that would have been spent on additional production, transportation, and distribution of food will be conserved or dedicated to more impactful uses. When there is less extraction and overconsumption, the environment can heal and Angelenos will be able to live at their highest potential.
What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?
Replate’s impact measurement is inherently supported through our platform. We intentionally designed our technology and processes to capture data in order to quantify our community impact. We collect metrics on the type and volume of food. This data is translated into pounds of food rescued; using industry standard conversions we calculate the number of meals delivered, amount of water saved, and tons of CO2 emissions diverted from the environment. We’ve rescued over 3 million pounds of food, diverted 3.3 tons of CO2 emissions, and saved 900M+ gallons of water. Through this same data collection process, Replate will track and exhibit the trends in food donations over time so that businesses can empirically understand which sourcing practices generate waste. Thus, in addition to measuring the amount of harmful emissions that we divert from the environment to determine our success, Replate also will measure the reduction in the level of surplus food generated by businesses over time.
Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?
Direct Impact: 80,000
Indirect Impact: 2,000,000