No Food Waste

I have created an app which supermarkets or consumers can use in order to reduce food waste.

Photo of Sarang Goel
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Eligibility: Please confirm you meet all the following criteria

  • You are aged between 14 - 18 as of August 1, 2020
  • You live in the United States or its territories
  • You are not employed by, or directly related (grand parents, parents or siblings) to a current General Motors (GM) or Ashoka employee
  • You have been working on this project for at least three months
  • You consent to us possibly featuring your work on social media
  • You confirm you have the rights to use and share any content uploaded on this entry form

Eligibility: Date of Birth

January 3, 2006

What gender do you identify with?

  • Male

Help us stay in touch!

Phone number: (469) - 616 - 8625 Mailing Address: 1144 Valley Vista Dr. Irving, TX 75063

Website or social media url(s) (optional):

https://saranggoel06.wixsite.com/website UPDATE: During the entirety of this form, I talk about creating a website as one of my next steps, but as you guys have extended the deadline, I have created one (above).

Date You Started Your Project Started

01/20/2020

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Established (successfully passed early phases, have a plan for the future)

1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

The problem I am trying to solve is food waste. Did you know that 40% of the food grown, processed, and sold in the United States ends up in landfills? And that supermarkets waste about 43 billion pounds of food a year, while the average household wastes about 31.9% of the food they acquire? There are people in this country, as well as in the world, that need this food to survive. In fact, 1 in 6 Americans live in food insecure households.

2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

The app that I have created is intended for use by supermarkets as well as by households. With my app, supermarkets will be able to cut down their food wastage as they will be able to donate near expired or unwanted food to local food banks, which will then distribute this food to needy and hungry people. When employees place food on the store's shelves, they will scan the item's barcode and input the item's expiry date using the app. The app will register the item, and display it in a list of products. When a store manager uses the app, they can input a certain date and query the list, so that he can procure all the items that expire on or before that date. Then, they can send their employees to retrieve these items, and all the employees have to do is scan the item's barcode to delete it off the list once they have retrieved it. A local food bank could then send a truck to procure these items from the supermarket and can use it to feed needy and hungry people. At the same time, households can follow the above steps in order to prioritize items for consumption and avoid food waste, as well as to avoid buying excessive amounts of food from supermarkets.

3. Using STEM as a force of good: Please specify how are you using STEM to solve for an environmental challenge you are passionate about.

I have used STEM to solve my environmental problem as I have created an app to do the functions described in my answer above. It incorporates technology in order to solve a current world problem. I have also created a website where food banks and supermarkets can communicate and decide on how to transfer food from one another. However, I can improve on this my actually creating this website without a template and using HTML code instead.

4. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?

The idea for this project actually came to me when I was at my local supermarket (Kroger) with my dad. I was getting some yogurt cups and was looking at expiry date, and they were over a month expired! I was really surprised that food like this could go to waste, and how it this food could reach needy and hungry people before they expire. I did some research on supermarkets, and I found out that expired foods was the main way supermarkets wasted food, and I found out that if supermarkets were to donate near-expiry foods to local food banks, many people will benefit from the food. So, I decided to create a product where supermarkets can pick a date where they know consumers would not buy product with expiries on or before and donate it to local food banks.

5. Video (Keep it simple, a video made on a hand-held phone is great): Please upload a 1-minute video to YouTube that answers the following “I am stepping up to be a Changemaker because...”

6. Please highlight the key activities you have carried out to bring your project to life.

The key activities that I have carried out to bring my project to life was thinking and developing my idea into a fully functional app. This app has all of the functions specified in my other answers. I look to also create a website that is directly connected to the app where supermarkets and food banks can communicate and make food donations possible. The next key activity for me is to apply my app in local supermarkets, such as Kroger, and starting the scaling process of my project.

7. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

So far, after searching for some time, I haven't found anything even closely related to my project. Also, whatever supermarkets are currently is doing to help solve the food waste problem, such as trying to control the supply chain or getting rid of deals where supermarkets give more food for a discounted price isn't working, as food waste in America continuously grows. Also, consumers seem to make no effort to actually stop food waste. So this solution can stop food waste in supermarkets, donating it to people who need it and for consumers, prioritizing near-expiry foods for consumption.

8. Impact: In the last three months, please detail the impact your project has made?

Because of the pandemic, I haven't been able to actually spread by app and ideas to local supermarkets or to consumers. However, my plans are to do so as soon as this pandemic ends. I believe that my project will have a great impact on solving our food waste problem that exists all over the globe.

9. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

My ideas for taking my project to the next level is definitely through campaigns and partnerships. I will be able to propose my ideas to local supermarkets, with some hopefully accepting my offer and implementing my solution in their supermarket. Through partnerships and donations, I also hope to hold campaigns in various regions near me (and hopefully in more locations in the future!!!) where I can bring this idea to consumers and persuade and urge them to download the app and use it. I believe through all of these actions, this project can make a change in this world and help stop our food waste problem.

10. Please share how you have influenced other young people to get involved in your project and/or care about environmental sustainability.

So far, I have not recruited young people to get involved in my project. However, as this project grows popularity and starts scaling, I will definitely recruit young people to join and help my project, starting with people I know, to people that are passionate and want to make a change in our world. I am also part of Boy Scouts, so I can propose this among my troop and gain support from them. I would want this initiative to remain student-led, so I would definitely focus on doing so.

11. Please share ideas of how you can partner with other changemakers to make a difference?

As I said above, I would like to start with people I know (mainly classmates from school). A lot of them are willing to make a change in this world, and are self-inspired, and I trust and know they will help me with this project. As this project scales into a bigger platform in my community, I hope to gain support from other young changemakers, and as I live in a very community-service oriented city (Coppell!!!) I believe there will be many people to join the and help the project.

12. How would you engage others who have never heard about your project to get their buy-in?

As I said above, Coppell, the city I live in, is very volunteer and community-service oriented, so it wouldn't be hard to gain support for my project. However, I will make flyers and advertise across my city (and grow to other cities!!!) to gain more support. As most people live in households, everyone has expirenced food go to waste, whether seeing it in a home setting (most likely) or seeing expired product been thrown away at supermarkets. All people can agree that food waste in not right.

References

As I have not put this idea out to the public (because of the COVID-19 outbreak) I only have two contacts (parents) that know of me doing this project: Rakesh Goel rakesh.goel@lennoxind.com (469) - 616 - 8625 Seema Goel rakeshseema.gm@gmail.com (972) - 506 - 7871

Are you employed, or directly related (grand-parents, parents, sibling) to a GM or Ashoka employee?

  • No

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?

  • Asian (for example: Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Pakistani) (9)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?

  • Religious minority (non-Christian)

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Recommended by others

Referral: If you discovered the Challenge thanks to an organization or person other than Ashoka or General Motors, who was it?

It was my sister who learned about it through Facebook.

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Photo of Carson McBain
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You've put a lot of thought into this and I'm impressed that in such a short timeframe you've created both the app and the website. You are really driven and I can tell food waste is an important issue to you! You are totally correct that the eventual next step is to approach grocery stores to get their buy-in. Before you do that, I would recommend to test it with groups of adults and peers who you know so you can gather some feedback and quotes from them that you could then use as evidence of its impact when you approach the supermarkets. Another dimension to consider is advocating for greater awareness of food waste - I myself was a bit shocked by the statistics you shared, so I think that campaigning to educate more people about the high rate of food waste will be beneficial to 'sell' the necessity of your app to them. I'm sure there are others in your community who are similarly worried about food sustainability and waste; what are some avenues that you could use to connect with like-minded people who may want to join and support your cause? I applaud what you are doing and wish you the very best of luck - I've often wished there was such an app and so I may begin using it myself!

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