What do I do if I am unable to share all food from a collection?

❗️The information below relates to any surplus you have not managed to redistribute after your collection, with the exception of your 10% personal allowance. 

❗️Your priority should always be to share as widely as possible with your community via the Olio app.

  • How much food can you expect to pick up during your collection?
    • The amount of food you collect as a Food Waste Hero varies depending on factors such as store sales and surplus availability. You will be collecting unsold surplus food, so the quantity can differ from day to day. 
    • It's a good idea to check your squad's group chat when you join to ask your fellow Food Waste Heroes about their experience.

  • Do you have to collect all the food offered during your collection?
    • No, you are not required to collect all the food offered during your collection. Your safety and capacity to distribute food are important. You should only take what you can safely manage and distribute. If needed, you can seek backup assistance from your Squad Chat.

  • Can you refuse food past its "Use By" date or of poor quality?
    • Yes, you should reject food that is past its "Use By" date or shows visible signs of spoilage or damage. Your safety and the safety of recipients are paramount. If you encounter such food, report the issue through the "Report an Issue" option on My Collection Slots in the Volunteer Hub.

  • Can you refuse products based on your religious beliefs or dietary requirements? 
    • No. We have a lot of volunteers willing to collect all food types and refusing a type of food would result in avoidable food waste. We try to support volunteers who are vegan, for instance, but we cannot predict the types of food you will be asked to collect. We will remove your collection slots if you are refusing certain types of food and we recommend that you look for collection sites where such food won't be available (e.g. a vegan store).

  • Can you ask the business to split up the food more fairly?
    • No, surplus food is distributed based on its "Best Before" or "Use By" date, and businesses may not be able to distribute it equally throughout the week. The sizes of the collections are not guaranteed.

  • What do I do if I am unable to share all the food from a collection?
    • Your primary goal is to share surplus food widely in your community. If you can't redistribute all the surplus after your collection, please read the information below.

Is your surplus food still within its UB/BB date?

YES -  “food is within date and/or has a best before date” 

  • Donate to a charity
    • Surplus food after a collection can be donated to charities and organisations like food banks and soup kitchens in and around your local area. Once connected with a food bank, please show them Olio and encourage them to request your surplus items directly from the app.
  • Feed it to your pets 
    • Why not treat your pets to some delicious snacks with any surplus food from your collections? This is a planet-friendly way to make sure you and your household are doing your bit to stop any further food waste. 
    • If you have any pet pigs or piglets, there are very strict rules on what they can be fed in the UK. Please read up on what you can or cannot feed them here.

NO - “food is past its use-by date”

  • It’s illegal for food to be given away past its use-by date. Any food that is after its allowed redistribution window on Olio shouldn't be shared on other platforms or channels.
  • Turn it into compost 
    • You can turn expired surplus food into compost. Composting is an environmentally friendly way of reducing food waste. We recommend using any fruits or vegetables left over after your collection as fertiliser around your garden and for your indoor plants. 
  • Help produce renewable energy 
    • You can also use commercial waste services that are able to produce renewable energy from Food Waste, contact your local council to find out if they have these available. 

  • Can I donate surplus food to local farms as animal feed?
    • In the UK, you can’t take any surplus food to animal feed unless you are registered as a feed business. Olio is not registered as a feed business, so Food Waste Heroes cannot use unclaimed food to feed animals (except their own pets) unless they register themselves with their local authorities first. If you wish to do so, you should know that strict regulations and controls apply.

🙅 Examples of what is not allowed unless you are registered as a feed business:

    • FWH sharing on Olio (or other platforms) food with descriptions such as ‘for animal feed’
    • FWHs donating surplus food (e.g. extra bread) to farms, petting zoos, animal shelters

  • Can I freeze any surplus food?

  • Can I use my regular bin to dispose of food no longer safe to consume?

If you find yourself with unclaimed food that is no longer safe to eat, rest assured that you can dispose of it without any concerns about incurring commercial waste fees.

According to the guidance we've received from DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) and the Environmental Protection Act 1990, unclaimed food that cannot be redistributed is considered household waste when it is collected from your home address. 

As your home is not primarily or wholly used for commercial purposes, any waste generated from your volunteer activities is not considered commercial waste. Therefore, this waste is not subject to additional removal costs.

If your local council is contacting you with a warning about your food disposal, please reach out to Olio by tapping 'Report an Issue' in My Collection Slots on the Volunteer Hub so we can help you resolve the situation.

  • What to do with surplus bread following collections?
    • Sometimes collections can be filled with huge quantities of bread, which at times are hard to distribute on the app. If you are having difficulty sharing your surplus bread, why not turn it into something new?

🍞Here are some tips on what to do with surplus bread: 




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