City: Cascais, Lisbon, Portugal
A non-profit and volunteer membership organisation, dedicated to prevent all types of wasting, with the fight against food waste as its most important and pressing goal.
Photo courtesy of socialportugal.blogspot.com and takecair.blogspot.com
DariAcordar – Anti-Waste Association President: António Costa Pererira General email: dariacordar à gmail.com Websites: www.dariacordar.org; www.zerodesperdicio.pt Zero Waste Movement – Official Facebook page
To provide needy families with high-quality meals within 24 hours, having regard to the surplus food that is wasted everyday in restaurants, cafés, canteens, supermarkets, catering companies, etc.
Despite the economic situation and the obvious needs in terms of basic goods for people who are finding it impossible to obtain adequate food, let alone a high-quality balanced diet, food companies in Portugal, as in the western world in general, are continuing to produce and supply foodstuffs in far greater quantity than necessary. All of this surplus food is discarded on a daily basis; meanwhile, it is estimated that some 360,000 persons have insufficient food to eat in Portugal. On the other hand, about 50,000 prepared meals end up in restaurant rubbish bins throughout the country each day.
This obvious fact is compounded by the Law on Food Hygiene, which is spreading the idea that consumption of such prepared meals is prohibited.
In 2008, António Costa Pereira decided to try to reverse this situation. He repeatedly contacted the civil and governmental authorities and launched petitions geared to achieving his aim of preventing this food from being wasted every day and instead passing it on to those in need. In 2010 he secured recognition by the ASAE (Agency for food safety and economic security) of the fact that the Law had been misinterpreted and that it is possible to transfer this food and consume it, provided the appropriate precautionary measures are taken to prevent loss of food quality.
This was when he founded, together with other citizens motivated by the cause, “DariAcordar” – the Anti-Waste Association, which is a non-profit organisation made up exclusively of volunteers with the sole aim of combating all types and forms of evident waste, with food wastage being the most urgent area for action.
The start of operations
- At first the Association concentrated its work on studying and listing the appropriate procedures for collecting, storing and transporting the foodstuffs, differentiating the food types from various kinds of establishments. This initial activity was conducted in close co-operation with the ASAE, with volunteers who had been trained by technical experts specialising in such food-related tasks.
- In the second phase, DariAcordar developed an operational model for its project and defined the structure of the requisite documents for drawing up protocols and concluding partnerships with various operators involved in the work.
- In 2012 it launched a national campaign against waste, known as the Zero Waste Movement.
The Zero Waste Movement
This model established a network of relations and communications between various existing bodies, donators (establishments supporting the cause and providing foodstuffs) and recipients (member bodies, local associations, parish centres, parish boards, etc) guaranteeing swift, safe transfers of foodstuffs to the institutions identifying and supporting people in need. This network is regulated by the local authorities, which are responsible for identifying the social solidarity institutions capable of collecting the meals from the donators and subsequently distributing them.
This local model facilitates the implementation of the Zero Waste Movement nationwide, regardless of distance. It also prevents waste in terms of transportation, since the donators and recipients are always local.
Organisation and operation
- The establishments affiliated to the Zero Waste Movement distribute unserved meals or, in the case of supermarkets, meals with an imminent expiry date.
- Meals are placed in suitable packaging and forwarded to volunteers in the local institutions.
- They are then transported to the local solidarity institutions, where they are organised and distributed to the families that need them.
TYPES OF AFFILIATED ESTABLISHMENTS Supermarkets, Cafés, Restaurants, Bars, Catering firms, Events, Schools, Hotels, Vending machine operators, Hospitals, Banks, Enterprises
In accordance with its philosophy of “zero money, zero entropy and zero duplication”, the Zero Waste Movement does not accept any kind of financial donations. All the various types of partners can contribute by means of know-how, making existing resources available (installations, human resources, software, etc.), or by providing free support in accordance with their competences and possibilities.
This has provided DariAcordar and the Zero Waste Movement with legal support for web design and many other contributions stemming from nationwide campaigns and the solidarity shown by a team of artists, who have composed, performed and recorded a song specially for the project.
After a pilot phase beginning in January 2012, the project has been implemented in the municipalities of Lisbon, Loures, Cascais and Sintra. In under one year DariAcordar and the Zero Waste Movement have managed to collect and distribute more than 340,000 meals.
- To replicate and extend the project nationwide, via the Zero Waste Movement, by promoting responsible and dynamic attitudes on the part of all local communities, and by the community at large, combining motivation, creativity and the basic human capacity for work.
- The maximum objective of reducing daily waste production is geared to achieving results affecting all the social, economic, environmental and civic levels: building up a fairer, more balanced and more sustainable society; saving financial resources and optimising them for the benefit of all; preventing types of waste which have serious environmental impacts; and using existing resources, creating synergies and helping minimise pre-existing situations of need.