LeftoverSwap: an app that's as gross as it sounds

02 September 2013

Possibly taking the idiom ‘waste not, want not’ a little too far, a new app is soon to be released that brings together people with too much food and people who are really, really hungry (or possibly just cheap and shameless).

Currently ‘in development', LeftoverSwap aims to provide an easy way for users to pass on their unwanted leftovers without having to feel guilty about all the starving kids in Africa.

If you simply can’t force down another bite of whatever you’ve loaded onto your plate, simply snap a photo of the unwanted portion, name it and upload it via the app with location details.

Free food scavengers can use the app to view available leftovers nearby, and arrange for pickup or delivery of anything that takes their fancy.

Om nom nom

While it’s hard for most people to consider some random stranger’s cast-off dinner as being legitimately appetizing, LeftoverSwap’s creators are confident about the impact the app will have once it becomes available.

The developers claim the app will have several benefits for users - including preventing food waste, building connections within the community and neighborhood, helping overweight users eat less (while providing an opportunity for less fortunate citizens to eat more), and overall promoting a healthier and more socially responsible lifestyle for everybody. Nawww.

Of course, it also means dumpster-diving, bohemian freegan types will have an easy way of combining their love of feeling morally superior by eating in socially conscious ways, with their love of owning expensive technology.

Om no no

LeftoverSwap’s Twitter is currently fielding what are probably reasonable inquiries about the potential risks of swapping food with neighborhood weirdos, pointing out with a cheerful optimism 'the decline of serial killers and the rise of the sharing economy.’ But even the developers admit that their idea ‘is obviously not for everybody’.

There’s also been suggestion that the whole thing is actually an elaborate hoax. The LeftoverSwap website features a graph that could either be seen as tongue-in-cheek or plain deluded, predicting LeftoverSwap will lead to a fall in food waste and fossil fuel use and a sharp rise in the population of Northern Spotted Owl. Sounds legit.

But while the app’s creators admit that the idea was originally a joke, they insist they are extremely serious about the project and plan to offer it as a free download. It's expected to be available soon for iPhone, with an Android version to follow after.

We’ll be interested to see which search parameters will be included in the app when it finally hits the App Store. Besides searching by location, can you narrow your choices down to meat-free, gluten-free, vegan or organic? Will there be a way to review other users and leave helpful feedback on the meals they’ve donated so far?

However successful the concept is, we hope LeftoverSwap’s creators have a good attorney standing by to deal with any future salmonella-related lawsuits.

Photo credit: ginnerobot at Flickr


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