November 25, 2011

Tweet Beat: Zero Percent uses app, social media to reduce waste

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By Michelle Hagopian/For CU-CitizenAccess — Want to help eliminate food waste? There’s an app for that.

Zero Percent, a project started in May by computer science students Adam Carney and Rajesh Karmani, seeks to help businesses achieve zero food waste. What started as a local campaign has expanded nationally, and the mission and its site (zeropercent.us) have produced quite the buzz.

Businesses like Dunkin’ Donuts, Papa Del’s and Jamba Juice participate in the project.

Redesign Agency worked with Zero Percent to create an app for smartphones. It allows businesses to enter instant deals on their excess food, and the app itself is extremely basic and user-friendly.

Zero Percent has taken to social media to get the word out. Like most CU businesses or projects we’ve seen, Zero Percent has a larger presence on Facebook than on Twitter. Its 527 followers* on Facebook are notified of deals that Zero Percent posts on its page’s wall. For example, “Beef Burrito for $1 (regular $3.49) at Cocina Real on University Avenue until 10pm.”

The project “likes” local venues on Facebook, from Joe’s Brewery to Skinni Girl Yogurt.

On Twitter, however, Zero Percent only has eight followers. The account was created in July, which might explain its weak following. Zero Percent tweets infrequently and seems to rely more on Facebook and other means of advertising for its cause.

Effectively using social media can help Zero Percent – and any business – achieve its goal of eliminating waste.

*Numbers as of Tues., Nov. 22.


About our Tweet Beat: 

Michelle Hagopian is a journalism graduate student in the College of Media working with the CU-CitizenAccess.org team this semester and follows the social media scene in Champaign-Urbana.

She reports on how the community is using social media, specifically Twitter and Facebook, so that users can get an idea of what different groups are talking about.

She also looks at different software to collect and analyze tweets and ask for advice and ideas from the community.

Contact her at

hagopian.michelle@gmail.com.