Recycling Man uses filing cabinets to rescue food
Matthew Whittle – aka “Recycling Man” – is an ideas man with a big heart who is helping to save the world, one loaf of bread at a time.
In 2015 Matthew set up Charity for Christchurch in a converted bus. He sold items leftover from garage sales, while auctioning off higher value items on Facebook. However, these were no ordinary sales or auctions. Buyers paid with cans of food, which were then donated to other charities who distribute food to those in need.
Four years later Matthew started collecting perishable waste food such as bread, buns, cakes and occasionally vegetables from Foodbank Canterbury (previously called City Harvest) and delivering it to existing community pantries in Christchurch. Foodbank Canterbury works with food retailers, supermarkets and other food providers to rescue good quality, perishable food, and then with the help of people such as Matthew, redistribute the food.
Mini community pantries
This year Matthew merged his passion for saving unwanted furniture with his food rescue missions. He began converting old filing cabinets into mini community pantries by insulating them with waste polystyrene. Through his large Facebook following Matthew aka Recycling Man sought communities to host them. He has now set up approximately 25 food pantries throughout Christchurch.
“The response has been amazing,” says Matthew. “There is a real and sad need for food out there but at least I get to help some of them while reducing food waste.”
Matthew keeps a check on the pantries to make sure there is no bread leftover and anything that is left goes to animals. The cardboard boxes that are used to transport the food are either passed on to other charities or taken to a council transfer station recycling drop off.
Follow Recycling Man on Facebook here.