A not-for-profit grocery store has opened in Melbourne, stocked with donated produce that would have otherwise been thrown into landfill.
The Inconvenience Store, located in the suburb of Thornbury, provides bread donated from nearby bakeries and other produce from bigger grocery stores, including Preston Markets and Aldi.
“The idea was to make a difference in the food waste crisis,” project coordinator Astrid Ryan told the ABC.
“We wanted to provide people access to nutritious fruit and vegetables … When people are in financial crisis or difficult situations, it’s probably the thing they have least access to,” she added.
Customers are welcome to help themselves to fruit, vegetables, and bread, as well as some packaged items in the store.
The food may be a little bit old and therefore cannot be sold in a regular grocery store, but is safe to eat, both the ABC and VICE reported.
The store is a new initiative from the team behind the not-for-profit restaurant Lentil As Anything, and will be funded in the same way.
“The food is free,” Ryan told the ABC.
“We just ask if [customers] like what we’re doing, if they want this store to stay open, then to contribute what they can.
“The more people who do food waste and food rescue projects the better,” she added. “The more food is saved from going into landfill, the better it is for the environment, and the more that people get fed.”
The pay-as-you-feel store is currently looking for volunteers and donations.
Karli Verghese, a waste expert from RMIT University, said food wastage in Australia was worth $20 billion a year, the ABC reported.
“Of that $20 billion, it’s estimated up to $10 billion of that is happening in our households,” Verghese said.
The food waste crisis in Australia was a focus of the ABC’s award-winning documentary War on Waste. (Link available until 7:00 a.m. on July 24, 2018)
The Inconvenience Store is Victoria’s first ever rescued food market. The first ever rescued food market in Australia was the OzHarvest Market that opened on April 19 last year.