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Pasadena Startup Creates App to Help Reduce Food Waste

A new mobile app that is intended to help reduce food waste and decrease food insecurity has been rolled out by a Pasadena-based startup that two friends launched.

Andrew Yeh and Garwing Lai, former USC software programming students, met up for lunch nearly ten years after they graduated. During that lunch, they sparked a conversation about food waste and hunger, thus NextPlate was born.

NextPlate is an app that allows restaurants and food stores to sell any leftover food items at half of the cost so that no food has to be thrown away.

The app allows users to purchase “mystery bags” which are bags that are filled with food items from restaurants and stores.

With every surprise meal, users receive a stamp that can later add up to get a free meal.

Users are able to purchase meals near the end of the business day to ensure that no extra food is thrown out.

Everyday, 4,000 tons of food waste are generated in LA County, according to the Los Angeles County Sanitation District.

Methane, a greenhouse gas that is 23 times more potent that carbon dioxide, is produced in landfills when food waste is decomposed, according to LASD.

The typical waste includes dinner scraps and spoiled fruit and vegetables left over from grocery stores and restaurants.

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