Food waste reduction volunteering in Portugal
Help some of the poorest people in Lisbon to receive food each day and contribute towards reducing food waste in the world. Volunteers collect unwanted food from restaurants, bars and cafes and redistribute it to people in need.
According to the UN, roughly one third of the food produced globally for human consumption goes to waste every year. At the same time, about 795 million people around the world are suffering from chronic undernourishment.
Join a team of passionate volunteers in Lisbon, who have come together to do their bit to conquer food waste in Portugal’s capital. The team of volunteers heads out to collect unwanted food from supermarkets, bars, cafes and restaurants, before redistributing it to those who are most in need. The project now feeds over 500 homeless people in Lisbon each day, and contributes to feeding to over 9000 institutionalised children around the country.
What will I be doing?
It has been calculated that 1 million tons of food goes to waste each year in Portugal – equating to 2000kgs of food each day. This project strives to collect that wasted food and take it to those who need it most – those who are homeless or living below the poverty line.
Volunteers help with a variety of tasks at the project. Examples include, but are not limited to:
- Collecting food from outlets such as supermarkets, bars, cafes, restaurants and even schools
- Separating and sorting the food within the distribution centre
- Putting each individual’s and family’s food package together
- Serving meals to homeless people in the distribution centre
- Distributing food packages to those in need
- Cleaning up the distribution centre
- Washing old food containers and recycling waste
To minimise disruption and to encourage food outlets to participate, the food collection is done in line with the demands of the supermarkets, bars, restaurants and cafes. At times, this may mean that volunteers need to work in the morning, at other times in the afternoon, and at other times in the evening. You should expect to work 3 – 4 hours per day. You will be made aware at least a day in advance of what time your next shift will be.
Accommodation and food
- Stay in a volunteer house in the leafy suburbs of Lisbon, 20 – 30 minutes from the centre
- The eco-house prides itself on being one of the most environmentally friendly buildings in Lisbon – single use plastics are kept to a minimum, food waste is composted or shared with those in need, furniture is built from recycled goods.
- Share a room with 3 – 9 other volunteers
- Three meals per day are provided, catering for all dietary requirements
- There is a large patio where volunteers can enjoy free yoga and exercise classes, or simply relax after a busy day
- There is a living room with books, TV and wifi
When should I book?
Whilst late-availability is possible, we would advise booking as soon as you can to guarantee your ideal dates. Our projects are very popular and spaces can fill up several months in advance, especially for the months of June to September.
- Meet like-minded people from around the world
- Work with a passionate team of volunteers to make a genuine difference for people in need
- Explore Lisbon and the surrounding area in your free time, with arranged trips and tours available
- Learn about how you can reduce your food waste when you return home
Whyshould I do this?
Each year in the western world, we waste 95 – 115kg of food per person. Compare this to people in Africa and Asia, who each throw away only 6-11kg of food on average per year. It is imperative that we learn how to reduce waste so that the world’s resources are not depleted as such a rapid rate. Food waste has implications for the environment, for prosperity in less developed countries and of course for humanity.
This project is a perfect way to spend your summer break, gap year, holiday with a difference or career break. It enables you to learn about food waste, how to avoid it and what to do with food that has been leftover. It is essential for helping to keep hunger at bay for homeless people and those in need.
Fly into Lisbon (LIS) on your arrival Sunday. You will be collected from the airport and transferred to the accommodation.
What is provided
- Before booking: Dedicated time with your Destination Manager to discuss the project, ask any questions that you might have and tell us more about yourself
- Access to your personal ‘My Oyster’ account – our online portal where you can find out much more about the programme and manage your booking.
- Pre-departure briefing
- Advice on visa requirements
- Help and advice from our UK office before departure and whilst away
- Airport collection and transfer to your accommodation
- Three meals per day
- 2 hour guided tour of Lisbon
- Shared volunteer accommodation in an eco-house
- Linen and towels
- Oyster will prepare you thoroughly before you leave and support you while you are out there
- ATOL financial protection (if Oyster books your flight); IPP financial protection if we do not book your flight
On your return:
- Welcome home pack
- Certificate of Recognition (on request)
- References (on request)
What do I need
- A full passport valid for the duration of your stay
- Flights to Lisbon (Oyster can help you to organise these)
- Insurance covering your project time and any planned independent travel, we can introduce you to a policy
- Transport to your project (budget 5 euros per day)
- Independent travel costs and return to the airport
- Any additional costs such as trips, snacks, entertainment (allow maybe £50 per week depending on lifestyle)