‘Zero Percent’ App Battles Food Wastage In Chicago

“I am still trying to reach that utopia of zero food waste,” said founder Rajesh Karmani, who plans to expand the app to other cities as well.

One in 6 Americans have difficulty finding food and often go hungry. Meanwhile, approximately 30 to 50 percent of food goes to waste, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

That’s why Pakistani-born entrepreneur Rajesh Karmani, who has a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, came up with an app to battle food wastage.

In 2012, Karmani launched the “Zero Percentage” app ­— a software that allows restaurant to list their excess food and send them to not-for-profit food pantries about what’s available. The program tracks these donations and restaurants can record them as tax deductions.

Zero Percent then hires “rescue food drivers” who supply fresh food to local charities as soon as it becomes available.

Almost 1 million meals have been distributed to 150 charities and over 250 companies have donated food since the app was launched.

“I am still trying to reach that utopia of zero food waste. I am not going to congratulate myself until we have, step by step, shown that now we can scale it and move the needle on food waste, first in Chicago and then elsewhere,” said Karmani.

Banner credit: Wikimedia

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