While strolling in late to dinner, and having the leftover pizza, we opened up the conversation around all of the boxes of pizza that was going to waste. One of our teammates works at a non-profit called The Hunger Project, where he noted that one of the greatest struggles for a non-profit is around finding partners for resources to help towards our mission. We then looked up the number of food wasted where we saw the tremendous amount of food wasted each year, roughly 1.3 billion tons of food (Yet the world still faces hunger . )
What it does
We know that food waste is a huge problem, and many non-profits are working to solve this issue.
The main problems they have are Convincing restaurants to give their unconsumed food - as they don't share a common platform, It becomes a tedious task as non-profit have to call each restaurant on their list and ask if they have left-over food.
To solve this, we have developed a mobile platform that allows resturants to post unconsumed food and non-profits to be able to reserve the food and then use it to distribute it to those in need. Resturants will be incentivized to utilize the platform through a rating system. Non-profits will rate restaurants based on the quality of the food that is provided [Not quality as in gourmet food, but preferably not 10-day old meatballs].
How we built it
After realizing that food waste is a pressing issue in today's society and that non-profits specifically struggle in connecting with partners and donors to help meet their mission. We then began to initialize research to see if this problem is, indeed, a problem.
We found that 1.3 Billion tons of food were wasted alone in 2018. Out of the 1.3 Billion, 3.9 million tons of food was wasted in NYC alone.
Thus, we began to develop our ideas.
We first started with drawing out different iPhone screens and writing out the different features A photo upload picture of the food A map to allow non-profits to see restaurants giving out food A incentivize to get restaurants to donate their unconsumed foods.
Next, we divided all of the screens by team members. Each team member focused on developing the front-end (the map, text inputs, photo gallery, etc.), and the page end (handling the user interaction)
Whenever a member was stuck on a problem, such as the form of user authentication (which we ended up doing in firebase), we would gather as a team and discuss the pros/cons of different solutions.
(In short, we built the app using react-native as our front-end, firebase as our backend, and redux as our middleware. We used expo as it helped out tremendously with launching and testing our app.)
Challenges we ran into
The main challenge we ran into was debugging especially due to collaboration. Since we were running on technically 4 different devices(mac, window, linux, apple, android) the dependency sometimes got messed up and figuring out what's wrong with it became the biggest challenge.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We're definitely proud of tackling a problem that can have a huge social (and environmental impact ==> Will be discussed in a report separate from the purposes of CUNY hackathon). Also, we have a functioning dynamic app where both non-profit and restaurant can start using as an MVP.
What we learned
We learned the 1.3 Billions of tons of food are wasted each year, and that we have enough food to feed people in this world. To keep the discussion short, food waste not only impacts the number of people in our society that continue to lack the proper diet, food waste also is a factor in the gases that are released in our atmosphere and negatively impact our environment.
Additionally, some of our teammates learned how to develop a mobile app, specifically working with react-native.
What's next for unconsumed
- Reach out to non-profits to initiate the use of their products, and local restaurants within the non-profits region. (Have the non-profit mention the app to their current partners for a bigger network)
- Update and maintain the current version of the application.
- Introduce a Machine Learning Algorithm which will determine the quality of the food that restaurants upload.
- Monitor the flow of goods within the non-profit users.
- Develop an incentivized system from non-profits to see who and where their food is being contributed to.
- Scale up our application to grocery stores, and event hosting organizations
- Move into the UN space to push our product out of NYC and into a more global audience.