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Berlin to go, english edition, 04/2019

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STARTUP Young

STARTUP Young entrepreneur Raphael Fellmer co-founded the successful startup SirPlus. THINKING ABOUT TOMORROW TODAY Sustainable nutrition is immensely popular – especially among young startups Text: Christiane Flechtner A brown spot on an apple, a crooked cucumber, a container of yogurt past its expiration date – there’s a lot of food out there that never even makes it onto our tables, let alone into our mouths. In fact, this food often lands directly in the trash. This is disastrous, especially in view of global population growth and the ever-increasing number of people facing hunger on our planet. Wasted food is also a very significant topic when it comes to climate change. With all this in mind, it’s great to see young people these days working hard on clever ideas designed specifically to prevent the wasting of food. Roughly one-third of all food in the world ends up in the garbage. Experts estimate that every person in the EU wastes 173 kilograms of food annually. In Germany alone, more than 18 million tons of food ends up in the garbage can each year. This is the equivalent to one truckload per minute. Young entrepreneur Raphael Fellmer was not willing to put up with this any longer, so he co-founded the startup SirPlus together with Martin Schott. Fellmer is convinced that it’s possible to avoid the ten million tons of his food waste thrown for no good reason every year: “Our vision is a world where all produced food is eaten and no one needs to go hungry,” he explains. “We bring excess food back into Photos: © SIRPLUS, © Christiane Flechtner, © Too good to go 28

circulation by offering it for sale at our Rettermärkte or “rescue supermarkets” and on our online shop.” There are already four Rettermärkte in Berlin – on Schlossstraße 94 in Steglitz, at the East Side Mall in Friedrichshain, on Karl-Marx- Straße 108 in Neukölln and at Raumerstraße 36 in Prenzlauer Berg. At these locations, Berliners can buy food that would otherwise have landed in the garbage. The SirPlus story began in 2009 when Fellmer found out that half of all the food in Europe is wasted. He decided to become a so-called “dumpster diver.” A year later, Fellmer launched a year-long one-man “money strike” to raise awareness for food waste. In 2011, he founded the food rescue movement – later known as foodsharing. Since then, he and Martin Schott have been devoted to their mission to end the wasting of food. The company’s “rescue supermarkets” are the result of this mission, and it works like this: food that has already “expired” is inspected by a SirPlus quality inspector and subsequently resold at a lower price. Even “unsightly” foods such as crooked carrots and cucumbers or misshapen eggplants are put up for sale. Non-Berliners can access their offers at the online shop www.sirplus.de. Still, food is not the only thing being wasted these days; indeed, many of the resources involved in food production – be it water, soil or labor – are also wasted. For example, for every kilo of uneaten bread, 1,000 liters of water are wasted. In addition, the global food industry also accounts for 8% of greenhouse gas Annalina Landsberg depends on private individuals who offer their excess garden fruits and vegetables at www.deineernte.de. emissions. And the problem doesn’t start in supermarkets alone; food is wasted along the entire value chain – from the field to the fork, so to speak. This is why the startup launched by Annalina Landsberg starts at the very beginning. This young woman from Berlin-Frohnau founded www.deineernte.de, an internet platform where private individuals can offer their excess fruit, vegetables, wood and flowers. “We always had so many plums hanging from our plum tree that we couldn’t use them all,” she recalls. “Next door, the pumpkins flourished like crazy, and our neighbors had more walnuts than they could handle.” For Landsberg, the idea of letting the fruit rot was out of the question. So she decided to set up a system that made it possible for Berliners and Brandenburgers to give away or exchange their fruits and vegetables, as well as jams and honey. “It‘s a win-win situation for everyone – including the environment,” says the 18-year-old student. “Throwing things away is so yesterday” is also the motto at “Too Good To Go,” a social startup that is saving food from the garbage. In their case, they have their eye on a different food-consumer group: “We help restaurants, cafés and bakeries sell their excess food in the form of takeaways instead of disposing of it,” Jon Frisk and Mai Goth Oleson (from left) of Too Good To Go visit a bakery in Wittenau. 29

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