Food Waste Hero: How Olio handles complaints

Food Waste Heroes play an absolutely critical role in Olio communities all across the UK and beyond, and they have an enormous responsibility to ensure food from businesses is distributed safely. To ensure Food Waste Heroes are always following the law, as well as government advice and Olio’s rules, we have processes in place to properly train and support Food Waste Heroes at all times, but also to sanction those who don’t follow the rules.    

In addition to our general Acceptable Use Policy, here we explain how we monitor, warn and ban Food Waste Heroes in unfortunate situations where we have to take action to ensure Olio remains a safe, friendly, inclusive, and positive community.

How are FWH complaints dealt with?

Olio receives complaints and reports via:

Depending on the severity of the infraction, Olio takes the following actions:

📢 Reminders. This is a communication from Olio to remind you of a rule that we believe is not being followed.

⚠️ Formal warning. This is like a yellow card. If you collect a second formal warning within 6 months, your account will be permanently banned from the FWH programme.

🔴 Immediate FWH ban. This is like a red card. You will not be able to volunteer as a FWH with Olio, indefinitely.

How does Olio verify a complaint?

Clear evidence: we ask all FWHs submitting a Report form to include evidence of the issue they want us to address. These could be in the form of pictures or screenshots from the Olio app.


The screenshot proves that Linda is offering to collect use-by items in the morning and is not able to store food safely in the fridge as per Olio food safety guidelines.

Please note that we will accept screenshots from other platforms (e.g. Facebook posts) as evidence only if:

  • we believe there is a risk of compromising food safety or jeopardizing Olio’s relationship with its business partners 
  • AND the evidence is unequivocal in identifying the Olio user and the wrongdoing

No clear evidence: If we aren’t able to verify claims made in a complaint, we will make a note on the user’s account for future reference. If several people in the local community report a specific issue multiple times, we will consider them sufficient proof to send a warning or ban the user from the FWH Programme or the app. 


“When I went to collect from this Food Waste Hero, I saw that the house was very dirty and I could see a dog sniffing into the grocery bags on the floor. This is breaking your rule of no food on the floor, near pets & kids!”

How should I provide evidence to Olio?

  • When submitting an Issue report form in the Volunteer Hub, please attach any screenshots or pictures that clearly demonstrate the rule violation and identify the user you wish to report. It is important to provide specific evidence that helps us understand the issue at hand.
  • As we are a small team with limited resources, we rely on the evidence collected by the reporting user to initiate an investigation. Therefore, if a report simply states, "Read the group chat," we will likely request additional evidence regarding the specific issue you wish to report before commencing any investigation.

⚠️ What issues could result in a warning? 

A Food Waste Hero may receive a warning to their conduct,  via the email address linked to the Olio account. Food Waste Heroes must keep an eye on this email account, in case a reply may be required via email. There are several reasons why we may send Food Waste Heroes a warning via email:

  • Missing a collection without arranging cover.
  • Sharing food without clearly displaying the use by or best before date
  • Sharing food collected from a business outside the Olio app.
  • Not following Olio / Food Waste Hero sharing guidelines. 

If a Food Waste Hero does not reply when asked for further information, or if the issue recurs, they will be removed from all their collection slots. If a Food Waste Hero receives a warning for any of the above reasons and is a Squad Captain, they will be removed from all their Squad Captain roles - but can rejoin as a Squad Captain again in 3 months. A warning will remain on the account for 6 months. 

When 2 warnings occur, Olio reserves the right to remove FWHs from the Food Waste Hero programme to prevent further issues. The Olio app will still be accessible as normal.

To protect the identity of a reporter, we may choose not to disclose the exact reason for a formal warning.

🔴 What issues could result in a direct ban from the FWH Programme? 

There are infractions (e.g. food safety issues, Olio’s relationship with business partners) that can jeopardise Olio’s ability to continue running the FWH Programme. 

For this reason, we may immediately remove the user from the FWH Programme, without a previous warning, for the following infractions:

  • Breaking hygiene/food safety rules
  • Sharing food past its ‘use by’ date
  • Arranging cover by non FWHs
  • Being rude to business staff 
  • Being rude to Olio staff members
  • Not respecting Olio’s offensive conduct policy  

Olio will immediately remove volunteers from the app / FWH programme if they are reported to us by a government official (e.g. a food safety official reporting a health hazard at a user’s home) or by a business partner (e.g. a store manager reporting rude behaviour towards store staff).

Why would a FWH be removed from collection slots?

If a FWH receives a warning and continues to fail to comply with guidelines, they will be removed from their collection slots. Like all voluntary programmes, Olio requires reliability from its volunteers. The intention behind removing FWHs from their slots is to prevent food from going to waste and to ensure a safe and respectful environment for all users. Removal of a FWH who cannot comply with guidelines will allow someone else in the community to volunteer. If the FWH finds other slots in the future, but exhibits the same behaviour that jeopardises collections, we reserve the right to remove the user from the FWH programme altogether or ban the user from the Olio app.

FWHs will also be immediately removed from their slots if the system detects that they haven't comply with the Missed Collections rule.

How does Olio monitor Food Waste Heroes’ accounts?

Olio uses algorithms which automatically highlight certain behaviours that indicate that someone might not be following the rules. We may use this information, as well as information stored in your user profile to investigate any issues if they arise.

Suspensions & Bans

Check out our Acceptable Use Policy for guidance on these matters which apply to all Olio users. 

Read more about reporting on Olio

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