At some point in our lives, each one of us has probably walked through our city with a bag of leftover food, decided we didn’t want to deal with it anymore and flung it into the nearest trash can.
A Brazilian collective called the Makers Society has developed a clever hack to divert that discarded food into the hands of people who need it most. Called Prato de Rua (or “Street Dish”) the initiative involves anonymous members of the Makers Society affixing stickers to the side of dumpsters in Rio de Janeiro, encouraging people to hang their leftovers on the side of bins instead of throwing them away. Many of the Brazilian city’s poorest people scavenge for meals in dumpsters and back alleys; by designating exchange sites where people are already in search of food, Prato de Rua hopes to spare people the effort it takes to search through a dumpster, and get others thinking more carefully about where their excess food goes, and who it could benefit.
In and of itself, food waste is a major problem: tossing scraps instead of saving or composting them results in around 1.3 billion tons of squandered food each year. That’s roughly a third of the total food produced for human consumption. The environmental repercussions are enormous, but the impact of food waste is perhaps most acute when translated to a human scale: For every tossed leftover, there’s a person in the world who might not even know where their next meal will come from.