Here at SoL, we are always so inspired and empowered by our friends journeys and storis, It is so exciting to see all the extraordinary things locals in our community are achieving, so we wanted to share the journey of Y-Waste!
Y-Waste is an app that illuminates the issues of food waste in Australia, offering a simple no-waste solution for customers and the hospitality industry. Meet Donny, the Co-Founder.
- When did your Y-Waste journey start?
It all started around the start of 2017, I started to think about where all the food goes at the end of the day. After talking to friends and contacts who have been in the food and hospitality industry, and through my own research I realised that on average 30% of food purchased ends up in the bins of restaurants, cafes and other food service businesses; that means that 30 portions of delicious food in 100 meals will end up in the bin!
It’s ironic, because hunger is pervasive, and we can do something together to solve this. We studied models such as Groupon and charities such as OLIO in Europe, where the zero waste trend was very much socially alive, and we thought, why not create this for Australians?
- Why are you chasing this dream of food security and sustainable food practices in Australia?
Well, my parents are from Taiwan, and they had to live through WW2, and as I was growing up, I was lucky enough to never experience hunger and strife, but my parents would often share stories with me of their experiences during the war, and how little food they had at the time. Their humbling experiences are engrained in me and highlighted to me that food is very precious, and that it was important to never waste food. So, this all helped me to really appreciate food as I was growing up.
I have also been involved with outsourcing in the Philippines, and in some areas, the locals experience the daily struggles of trying to make ends meet, and some struggle to earn enough money to feed their children. This experience has also shaped my view on how precious food is.
Also, I have friends in the hospitality and food industry and I know it’s a tough industry to run a business. So, one day the idea of YWaste came about as I wanted to do my part to help reduce food waste by helping restaurants to have a way to offer their stock at the end of the day at a discount and yet not jeopardise their brand. Customers can also feel good that they are doing their bit to reduce food waste and at the same time have a convenient way to buy discounted food from brands they love; it’s also a great way to discover new food, as our app has a very wide variety of merchants.
I truly believe that food is not just a commodity but a resource that can be allocated to those in need and be an effective medium for people to discover alternative cultures.
- What is the most exciting part of being an entrepreneur for you?
It’s about being the forefront of change and optimising how we function and exists in this world and its processes.
The perception of consumers is slowly changing, but the hardest thing is educating every day consumers. Initially, people may not understand what YWaste is and what the point is. We are all about using technology to provide a more efficient system to handle food waste and we offer unique benefits to both our merchants (food sellers) and our customers. As awareness for YWaste grows, the word of mouth effect will certainly help to tell the story to the broader community and help spread the word about our cause. What the value of such a platform can create in term of efficiency and marketplace such as how Airbnb helped allow consumer an option to travel for all budgets and also Netflix for entertainment and Uber for transport, we can do with food distribution and business can create such a positive effect on people’s values and reduce food waste.
I think tech platforms are the future for disrupting issues, but they also challenge the way things are done and how they can be done in the future. I believe YWaste is not only a service but also a real-life connection with our merchants; as we offer a great solution to help them build their business and income, without jeopardising their brand value through discounted prices on our app. YWaste doesn’t give consumers the choice of an exact dish, so as to reinforce that our primary mission is to save all food. This enables our merchants to reach new markets without cannibalising their initial market.
I find great enjoyment and fulfilment talking to new and existing merchants, we are always thinking of ways to help support our merchants; please feel free to contact me directly with any ideas.
- How do you practice sustainability in your everyday life?
I try and limit the waste I create everyday by using everything pre-loved and second-hand so I can optimise the life cycle out of everything. I take my reusable bags to the markets so as to eliminate plastic bags, and use my reusable containers to reduce my packaging footprint.
Every little mindful step helps make a difference within ourselves and the world!
- Where is your favourite place to eat with Y-Waste right now?
I see YWaste as platform for people to bond over the incredible experience of sharing a meal together, regardless of who you are or where you are from. There is a saying which I have coined which I believe is very current with food as a cultural platform:
“When I eat with you, I meet with you. My experiences and your experiences rest on this table at this moment”.
On the YWaste app I am currently loving the Italian Breads at Raffaels Bakery in Haberfield, Sushi at Sushi Hub, the Organic Food at the Organic Produce Café, and O Superfoods in Surry Hills and Bondi Junction as I am trying to be more health conscious and the food is all organic.
The authentic curries at Bombay Duck in the CBD and Curry Monitor in Gordon are my go-to Winter meals at the moment (the Vegetable Korma and Beef Vindaloo are amazing!)
Lastly, Lize + Bath and their Singaporean touch on modern Australian cuisine is incredible, and I adore the gourmet pies at Pie Tin.
Get on the YWaste App now and check out all of our amazing merchants, you could be saving the planet from unnecessary food waste and yourself up to 80% on food today!
- What makes you a Sol-Mate? (how does Sol’s mission resonate with you?)
I think we are all looking for incredible experiences and less clutter in our lives, and conscious living is a great strategy to increase gratitude and minimise your negative impact on this beautiful planet. Sol’s motto of ‘ending waste and embracing taste’ is a fantastic mantra that I use to remind myself of how precious food and other resources are. You can enjoy great food and coffee with plastic-free products, and I love that Sol is on a mission to educate everyday people about this.
I’m extremely proud to be a Sol-Mate!