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Prashant Baid didn’t want to be the kind of guy who threw away half a loaf of moldy bread every week. He had been that guy for too many years, he told NPR.
“I love bread but I can’t eat 20 slices in 3 days,” he explained in an email.
“Bread has such a short shelf life and I don’t want to waste food, so it makes more sense to buy bread in smaller quantities. Of course, you can freeze it, but it doesn’t taste as good. tastes like fresh bread,” he added.
Always a practical man, Baid said that for people like him – single people who live alone – it makes a lot more sense to buy half loaves. “But most stores don’t sell them.”
So he did what came naturally to him: he created a program to help him and others find half loaves to sell in local stores. For Baid, that means local stores in India, where he currently lives.
“I like to build fun little internet side projects,” he said, adding that in this case, “honestly, I made myself.” That’s why the search engine is limited to a handful of cities across the country, he said.
But it is clear that he hit something, he admits.
In the first 12 hours of halfloafnear.me’s launch, the site received more than 16,000 visits, according to Baid. That tells him that other people also think it’s a problem, he said.
To Baid’s surprise, much of the attention he’s received for the project so far has come from halfway around the world. Despite the fact that the half-loaf search engine is only available for Indian cities, it has received more comments from Americans than anyone else, he said. And most of those people from the United States seem to be “annoyed that stores there also have very limited availability of half loaves,” Baid said.
Food waste is a serious problem worldwide, with devastating effects on the environment and national economies. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, a third of all the food produced in the world is wasted.
In terms of environmental impacts, the United Nations Environment Program reports that if food waste could be represented as its own country, it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, behind China and the United States. . Additionally, the resources needed to produce the food have a carbon footprint of approximately 3.3 billion tonnes of CO2.
In the United States alone, an estimated 133 billion pounds of food worth $161 billion was wasted in 2010, according to the USDA. Food takes up more space in US landfills than anything else, according to the EPA.
One source of the problem is that Americans buy too many groceries that they never get to eat.
Those numbers weren’t necessarily on Baid’s mind when he created the website, but he’s glad it resonated with the general public.
“The fact that it has gone little viral shows that there are many other young people around the world, working/studying and living alone in cities who also don’t want to waste food,” he said. declared.
“For products with a very short shelf life, you should have the option of buying them in smaller quantities.”
Baid added that he’s optimistic his own “dumb little niche project” could inspire others to create their own localized versions for more than bread.