DoorDash's delivery drivers will take restaurant leftovers to food banks

Project DASH is rolling out in three US cities.

DoorDash announced a new project today aimed at reducing the amount of food thrown out by restaurants each year. A 2016 report released by the Food Waste Reduction Alliance found that restaurants that took part in its survey donated just two percent of leftover food in 2015 and over 93 percent of it was just thrown away. And restaurateurs consistently say that transportation is the biggest barrier to food donation. That's where Project DASH comes in. Project DASH, or DoorDash Acts for Sustainability and Hunger, is teaming up with Feeding America Charity and will start transporting food between restaurants and local nonprofits that could make use of it.

The program is rolling out in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco and all restaurants have to do is take a pic of their leftover food with Feeding America's MealConnect app. MealConnect will then find a place for the food to go, like a food bank or shelter, and DoorDash will get a driver to deliver it. "It removes the donation as quickly as possible from a restaurant's kitchen so that it doesn't take up space in their storage," Justin Block, Feeding America's director of retail information services, told Fast Company. "Also, once the clock starts ticking on that donation, there's a limited amount of time for its highest and best use...we're maximizing the available shelf life of that donation so we can preserve as much of it as possible for the client to enjoy."

DoorDash is donating driver time to cover delivery costs as of now, but in the future, drivers will have to choose to donate their time, according to Fast Company (see update below). DoorDash says more cities will see Project DASH this year.

Update: A DoorDash spokesperson has clarified how the drivers' payments will work. "Project DASH is treated like a DoorDash Drive delivery," they said. "Dashers are paid the guaranteed amount that they are shown prior to accepting a Project DASH delivery. DoorDash contributes all funds to pay Dashers to fulfill Project DASH deliveries and will continue to do so."