How to share food on OLIO as a Food Waste Hero

Food Waste Hero (FWH) sharing guidelines are based on our government approved Food Safety Management System, regulated by South Derbyshire Environmental Health. Please make sure you read all the way to the bottom and if you have any concerns, please contact

Share safely ⚠️

Some collections involve specific food safety instructions with stricter time limits and extra rules for hot food. Specific rules should be followed in addition to these general guidelines.

a. Once temperature-controlled (hot or cold) food has been transported home and stored in your fridge (within 2 hours of collection), it must remain chilled until it's handed to the receiver. Any further transport must be in a chill/cool bag.

b. If you don’t want to disclose your address, meet somewhere in your neighbourhood in a well-lit environment and a chill/cool bag must be used to transport any chilled food.

c. If no handwashing facilities are available, please use hand sanitiser and/ or tongs when handling unsealed items (pastries, baked goods or anything that can't be washed!).

d. When food is stored at home, it must be stored in your kitchen, never on the floor and away from pets and children.  

e. A fridge thermometer must be used to ensure your fridge is below 8°C - Purchase one here

f.  Don't collect or share food if you or anyone in your household is ill as this could transmit to someone requesting food - please find cover.

g. Food must be distributed directly to the final consumer and not be left unsupervised outside your house or left in communal areas for people to help themselves.

'Use by & 'best before' 📅

  • Food must not be shared past the 'use by' date
  • Ambient food with ‘best before’ date can be shared beyond that date
  • Chilled food with a ‘best before’ date can be shared after the date but must still be shared within 24 hours of collection.
  • Chilled or hot food without any form of expiry date must be shared within 24 hours of collection.
  • If a specific collection slot has stricter timing rules in place, these should always be followed first.

Remember, all of the FWH food safety training materials are available on the volunteer hub.

Share widely 🧑🤝🧑

Food must be shared with people who request it via the OLIO app. Share as widely as possible and consider giving priority to newbies so they have a great first experience (check their profile to see whether they’re a Newbie, Cub or Champion).

List items separately 📋

Take pictures of the food you’ve collected (unless we’ve provided you with stock images) and list the food on OLIO.
a. When adding your haul to the app it is very important to divide the food into as many listings as possible / as makes sense. As well as providing a clear path for business donors to see who is consuming the food, it will also enable us to accurately calculate how much food you’ve saved from the bin. Plus, it makes your job distributing the food much easier!

💪Top tip: you can use the ‘copy listing’ feature under ‘My OLIO - My Listings’ to speed things up!

b. Please accurately describe what’s available and where it is from. It is much more likely that someone requests your food if you tell them what you have. 

Click the picture to see a perfect example listing... 

Example listing

d. Click on the "Source" button and select the correct collection slot for the listing.

Finish the job ☑️

a. Remember to mark each request as ‘Pick-up arranged’ and "unlist item". Unless you still have more to share, in which case choose ‘Leave item listed’.

b. Still have food left over? Within 24 hours of the collection and provided food is within its Use-By date, you can take the surplus to an office, homeless shelter etc. You must use a chill/cool bag to transport chilled food and the food must still be requested through OLIO.

Some burning questions...

Q. Can I share items immediately after collecting them?

A. After collecting items from a business, you have up to 2 hours to transport them home. In this time, you can try to distribute them through the app if you have permission at an indoor location such as a community centre, office etc. You cannot distribute items near to the business you collected from or from an outdoor public space like a train station.

Q. I don’t want to share my home address, can I distribute items from somewhere else?

A. Although OLIO is focused on growing local communities, we totally understand some FWHs will not want to share their home address. Don’t worry, you can share food from a convenient place near your home. Once temperature-controlled (hot or cold) food has been transported home, chilled and stored in your fridge, it cannot be out of the chill-chain again. Therefore, any further transport must be in a chill/cool bag. If no handwashing facilities are available, please use hand sanitiser and/ or tongs when handling unsealed items.

Q. Can I deliver/take surplus items to others with me the following day?

A. It’s your choice if you would like to deliver/ take surplus items to a homeless shelter or to share at work within the permitted time periods explained above. You will need to make sure items are requested in the app and given directly to the requester - don’t leave items in a communal space. As above, if you’re sharing temperature-controlled food, this will be a second period outside of the fridge, therefore, a chill/cool bag is essential.

And for anyone posting a ‘Pre-Alert’...

Some Food Waste Heroes prefer to let their local OLIO community know in advance that they’re going to do a collection so they’re aware that food will become available at a later time. 

You must ensure that pre-alerts are recorded under 'personal' and never under a collection slot. You can create a separate listing and say "I’m going to do a collection later today and will post the food on the app from... Please check back later for my actual listing and do not request this listing!" Please unlist your ‘pre-alert’ listing down once you’ve done your collection and post your food on the app in separate listings with accurate descriptions as described above.