The Leftovers Army

The Leftovers Army

Hong Kong S.A.R., ChinaHong Kong S.A.R., China
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
Start-Up
Budget: 
< $1,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Hong Kong is a Gourmet Paradise as well as a wasteful city - 3600 tonnes of food waste are dumped into landfills every day. We wish to bring the culture of treasuring food back to Hong Kong by education and engaging more people to combat food waste. Together we can make a change.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

In Hong Kong, 3600 tonnes of food waste are dumped every day. They could have been converted into fertilizers and fish feed. Some of them are even edible food which can be donated to the needy. However, they are dumped without any treatment which speeds up the exhaustion of landfills. The lack of policies is the main culprit but our attitude towards food is also to blame - why do we still tolerate this serious threat to sustainability?

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The Leftovers Army is an educational programme to spread the message of treasuring food. Education is not only providing information but changing people’s attitude and behavior and engaging them to make social changes. Therefore, the activities will be based on the following three goals: 1. Acquiring knowledge: Students gaining basic knowledge and information of the food waste issue 2. Reflecting on current situation: Interactive educational activities like leftovers workshops to engage students to reflect on the current situation of the food waste issue 3. Taking action: Students put what they learnt into practice and gain real-life experiences. Take actions in daily lives and spread the message treasuring food to people around them
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

We went to a P.5 class in Asbury Methodist Primary School to run the programme for the first time. It is a 5-week programme including assembly talk, buffet simulation, jam and bread crust workshops and a sharing session by themselves. In this experience, we can see that the students' attitude towards food have changed. They were actively involved in our programme and shown great reasponse in lessons. During these 5 weeks, we continued to measure how much food each student left after lunch and record the weight. We found that nearly all the students wasted much less food after joining the programme. It shows that our programme is effective and actually makes a difference in people's attitude towards food.
Sustainability

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Well renowned and environmental groups mainly focus on lobbying and negotiation with large companies. There are also some organizations which focus on recycling unsold food, while food banks focus on collecting packaged and canned food and redistribute to the needy. However, The Leftovers Army is different from the above organizations. They mainly deal with large companies and food producers, while we will focus on customers, who are equivalent to the general public. As there are no similar educational programmes in Hong Kong, we believe our programme has a great potential and market.
About You
Organization:
The Leftovers
About You
First Name

Ho Kwan

Last Name

Lui

About Your Project
Organization Name

The Leftovers

Organization Country
Country where this project is creating social impact
How long has your organization been operating?

1‐5 years

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Your Solution
Founding Story: Share a story about the “Aha!” moment that led you to get started and/or to see the potential for this to succeed.

One night, my friend and I occasionally witnessed how supermarkets throw away loads of edible food like bread, mochi, sushi, soya milk and juice etc. We were dumbfounded - we all "knew" that there is food waste in Hong Kong, but never imagined how serious and outrageous the real-life situation can be.

We wanted to save those food so we did a dumpster diving. However, the food is way more than we could consume so we brought the food to the homeless. We also took some pictures and share the experience with our friends. Our friends were also angry about how wasteful is our city is. We all desperately wanted to do something about it, and that is how we began our organization - The Leftovers.

Select Sector(s): To which of Unilever's categories of sustainability does your solution apply?

Waste.

Measurable Impact
Audience: Who have you identified as your customers/recipients and why? How will you get your solution to them or engage them in your initiative?

The primary target customers are schools as we can carry out our programme most intensively and systematically and it is easier for evaluation. There are totally 1000 secondary and primary schools in Hong Kong so our market is quite large. Our programme can satisfy the schools’ demand of extra-curricular activities or instructors. It is even useful for studies as we can integrate its content with the curriculum of Liberal Studies in secondary schools and General Studies in primary schools.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date and expected impact in the future?

Pilot tests have been done since November 2012, including a sharing session and jam workshop in Tak Oi Secondary School which attracted about 200 participants and a 5-week programme in a P.5 class in Asbury Methodist Primary School. The teacher-in-charge would like to expand the programme to other classes and promote to other schools. In this year, The Leftovers has been working with about 20 schools or organizations to hold talks and workshops, including schools, universities, youth groups, church groups and aged homes etc. It shows that our educational programme is widely recognized.

We hope the Leftovers Army can continue to carry out general education in environmental protection and to nurture students in an environment of treasuring food. We hope the programme will act as a model to the general public and to initiate a bottom-up social change in the future.

Growth, Finance & Leadership
Scaling the Solution: How do you intend to scale your activities over the next two years (e.g., reach new markets, diversify solutions, etc.)? What will make this possible?

After this programme, our social enterprise should have grown in terms of capital, market, brand awareness and social network. We wish to expand our business and open a leftovers cafe cum educational centre. As we did not have money to rent an office before, our social impact was limited as we did not have a fixed point to store food or gather the audience. If we win the prize money and the Leftovers Army is financially sustainable, we would like to open a cafe serving cuisine made from leftovers to reach new markets. The cafe is also an educational centre to hold workshops at our own place to continue our educational mission. This place can also act as a platform for environmental groups to have meetings and exchange ideas.

Financial Sustainability: What is your business model to ensure financial sustainability?

Our business model is to provide educational programmes as charged services. We will go to schools for longer educational campaigns while going to organizations for one-off activities. After our pilot test in the primary school, the teacher wanted to run the programme again. It shows our customers are likely to return and our plan is financial sustainable. Some profit will be used to train full-time staff to ensure the programme runs smoothly.

Experience: Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

In order to turn our organization to a sustainable social enterprise, we have joined the Hong Kong Social Enterprise Challenge 2012 with The Leftovers Army proposal. We were the champion and also won the Best Social Mission Award. As a result, a total of HK$240000 was awarded as a startup fund, which will be reimbursed before December 2013. Besides financial support, we have been seeking advice from the mentors in this competition.