Coming to your smartphone: Leftover Swap

A new app allows you to exchange excess takeout (and saliva?) with your neighbors.

Photograph: Wally Gobetz

Photograph: Wally Gobetz

The slow, sure erosion of capitalism continues with Leftover Swap, a new smartphone app that allows users to either give away or trade for their leftover food. Take a photo of that surplus pad thai, and post it and your location to a map. Your hungry and/or cash-strapped neighbors can hit you up with offers or leftovers of their own, and you can arrange a drop-off or pickup.

Unsurprisingly, the idea for Leftover Swap was born in a college dorm. Cofounders Dan Newman and Bryan Summersett came up with the idea when they were rooming together at the University of Michigan in 2010. Brilliant, you say? Unsanitary, you say? Yes, both those things. We do cringe when we think about all the unfinished food we toss every week, but we also cringe when we think about playing Russian roulette with some stranger’s mysterious mouth germs.

If this notion makes you go “Ooh” and not “Eughhh,” you can sign up to join the network on Leftover Swap’s website, which features a questionable bar graph about the relationship between food waste, fossil-fuel use and Northern spotted owls; you’ll be alerted once the app launches.

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Editor: Marley Lynch (@marleyasinbob)

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