In France, 10 million tons of food go to waste every year, including 1.2 million tons of which are still perfectly edible. To fight against this food waste, a Parisian group known as Biocycle has become an important connecting tool between shopkeepers and charity organizations, thanks to a fleet of tricycles that redistributes close to 25 tons of food each year in Paris.
Mounted on their electric-assisted tricycles, Biocycle Association volunteers collect unsold food from donating shopkeepers to redistribute it, the same day, to food aid organizations. “Bikes were an obvious choice because they allow us to move around very easily in Paris,” explained Mathieu Roger, partnership manager for the association. “We’re also thinking about solar energy models,” he said, touting the ecological virtues of bikes.
Gifted with an isothermal trailers posed on the two rear wheels, each tricycle can transport up to 250 kg of fruits, vegetables and dairy products. The food donations are primarily composed of fruits, vegetables, dairy products and bread products to respect a balanced diet.
Based in the 14th arrondissement of Paris, Biocycle now provides its services throughout all of southern Paris. The bike deliverers leave from their home base heading for three or four markets to collect their unsold items. The shopkeepers sign a form releasing their ownership of the products and declaring them a donation, which can sometimes allow the shopkeepers to claim a tax credit worth up to the market value of the products. Then, the food products are delivered to the partner charity, which signs a delivery receipt and then redistributes the products to people in need the very same day. All of that takes place on a local scale. There is no central storage center – the bike volunteers leave from their central hub and come back to the hub empty-handed.