Americans produce an estimated 70 billion–plus food waste every year, while nearly 800 million people in the world—including about 42 million Americans—do not get enough food to live a healthy life.
And food isn’t the only thing we waste; the average person generates more than 4 pounds of trash every single day. Then there's the water we waste from taking long showers and soaking our lawns.
Here are three standout tech tools helping to reduce water and food waste:
Food waste is a problem that has always bothered plant pathologist Brianna McGuire. While doing field research in graduate school, she studied disease control of plants, particularly powdery mildew on wine grapes.
She and a team of engineers and designers formed Foodfully. It keeps track of the fresh food you’ve purchased, sends push notifications when food is about to spoil and offers tips on how to cook it before it spoils, leading to less household waste.
Samsung’s Family Hub is a revolutionary new refrigerator. The Wi-Fi-enabled touch screen has three built-in cameras that take a photo every time the fridge door closes.
So, when you’re standing at the store wondering what to buy, you just use your smartphone to peek inside your fridge. You’ll always know what you have and what you’re missing—no more writing grocery lists (that often get left behind anyway). The large screen on the front also stores family photos, plays music and TV shows and serves as a family message center. At nearly $6,000, it’s expensive compared to a regular fridge, but the less food you waste, the more money you’ll save in the end.
Mimi Purnell has always monitored the water bills at her Austin, Texas, home, but whenever she saw expensive spikes in usage, she just figured she was watering her lawn too much. Then she found the app Dropcountr, which connects homeowners to their local water utility with easy-to-understand usage patterns, comparisons to similar households, goal-setting and leak detection.
“Twice now,” she says, ”the app has shown large jumps in my water usage, which led to the discovery of toilet leaks.