24: Trash to Nutrition – Solving Food Waste Rajesh Karmani (Zero Percent)

We’re getting trashy on the podcast today!
Yes, literal trash. Not quite what you thought right? Well we are kicking off an entire month long feature on environmental issues as we head into Earth Day 2016. Trash fits right into this topic, as well as highlighting unique way we can approach waste reduction, importance of healthy foods and collaboration.
Rajesh Karmani has made it his personal mission in life to eliminate all food waste from the United States, and well, the world! You have to give him props for dreaming big. Luckily, this dedicated social entrepreneur is giving wings to his dreams. We are now closer to eliminating food waste than we were even three years ago thanks to his innovative app Zero Percent.
This innovative app connects businesses with local nonprofits that can put a surplus of food to use today. A carrier service then delivers the food directly to the organizations. Next thing we know there is a kitchen in a Chicago food dessert serving hummus, beats and soups to community members who need a helping hand.

Check out other Entupenurers with innovative apps.

Rajesh describes it as a win – win – win.
  • Win for businesses: Helping the business track and manage inventory while supporting nonprofits in the area.
  • Win for nonprofits – Increasing access to fresh healthy food.
  • Win for Zero Percent: Capitalizing on their dream and giving them the foundation to reach more communities.
I think Rajesh has the triple bottom line down pretty well. It makes sense considering he is the second Impact Engine portfolio company I’ve connected with. Although I’m hoping to add many more to the podcast line up!
Listen in to hear how this vision turned into an enterprise (yes, this is a viable business model!) and what impact it is having on the community.



  • “Entrepreneurship is like jumping off a cliff and building a plane on the way down.” Reid Hoffman (Founder of LinkedIn)

Memorable Moment

  • Talking about dumpster diving (yes, it comes up);
  • Business 101 lesson: When you create a great service, you can charge a fee. It’s business 101. {Always a great reminder!}
  • “We started looking at food waste as a problem. Now we are looking at it as a way to solve hunger, to solve malnutrition, and create better access to fresh food.”

Recommended Reading

How to Make a Positive Impact

  • Look for opportunities to cut food waste in your life. Ask restaurants and groceries what they do with their waste. Then look for ways to provide dignity and nourishment to others.

Episodes Mentioned

Connect with Zero Percent


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