Providing those in need with the food we waste - Food Waste Cluj is leading the pack on socio-circular innovation in Romania

Food Waste Combat logo
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Camelia Monica Gui

Food Waste Combat has reached Cluj Napoca through an innovative partnership between local NGOs and the municipality. Through careful market research and the development of an infrastructure for the collection, storage and distribution of excess food to those who need it most, the social partners have been able to raise awareness on food loss and food waste in the Cluj Napoca area while filling a gap in public service provision through social innovation.

The organisational model is very simple and builds on the well established food bank system: excess food is collected from supermarkets and restaurants in a specialised van for food transport, which is then stored in a logistics centre, distributed to local social charities, or processed for daily meals in homeless shelters.

This social partnership builds on the following key drivers:

  • public authority's need to decrease the cost of social welfare
  • reduction of the impact of the local authority and its citizens on the local environment
  • need for practical examples of circular economy to improve understanding and raise awareness of the concept across society.
Main results
  • Seven tonnes of food, worth at least 1,400€ a month, were re-directed to people in need between February and October 2018
  • Developing this partnership strengthened food resilience on a municipal level and raised awareness of the food waste issue among local authorities
  • Partnership between non-governmental organisations and local authorities resulted in substantial social innovation