Wake Up Call

New App Will Let You Trade Your Leftovers with Strangers

How do you feel about taking someone else's leftovers? We can totally see the draw of being able to easily give away that half-eaten container of chow from last night that you want to believe you'll eat for lunch today, except that you have a lunch date with your friend at that new Mediterranean place . . . and you already picked up that Niman Ranch filet to cook for dinner.

And apparently we're not the only ones with such difficult food-related moral dilemmas. Thanks to a couple of ingenious dudes, in the not-so-far-off future, you can skip the guilt trip and just give your unfinished grub away to someone nearby who's hungry, cheap, or both.

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The app, called LeftoverSwap, is expected to launch by the end of August and will be available to download for free.

The idea, which the two founders say they came up with while they were roommates at the University of Michigan, is really pretty simple. If you're looking to dump your extra food -- without actually sending it to the dump -- just snap a photo and post it on the app. If you're looking to score some free (or at least really cheap) eats, just open the app and check out what's available around you. Arrange for a pickup or a delivery and -- boom -- dinner.

According to the LeftoverSwap website, the benefits of using the app include everything from decreasing food waste and encouraging healthier eating to lowering fossil fuel use and, thereby, increasing the number of endangered northern spotted owls.

The concept is awesome and all (if not a little bit hard to imagine), but, uh, what about the icky-ness of digging into the rest of a stranger's dinner?

Founders Dan Newman and Bryan Summersett have a positive spin for that. They say the app will help people get to know their neighbors better and that we should just trust each other more.

Newman told NPR, "People seem to have a huge lack of trust in their fellow man, thinking that leftovers would be diseased somehow. It goes back to the couch-surfing thing. You're staying at a random person's place and you have to trust they aren't going to do something weird. It's the same with leftovers."

But regardless of whether you think it's gross or not, there also are potential legal issues regarding the fact that you need a permit to sell food to the public. Though the founders say the app wouldn't allow users to sell their food, per se, but would give an option for people to donate money for especially delicious, half-eaten, potentially food-illness-bearing grub.

So what do you think?

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