I Spent a Week Rescuing Food From the Trash.

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Food waste and I have a history.

One childhood memory, from the family table in Mumbai, still plays on a loop in my mind: “Don’t waste your food,” my mother would admonish daily. “Too many starving children everywhere,” my father would chime in.

Decades later, now living in New York City, I still can’t toss those leftovers. At least not like some of my friends do, with cool nonchalance, or like restaurants and shops regularly do when they’ve prepared too much.

So, I decided to try Too Good To Go, one of several apps that connect eaters with unsold restaurant food. It claims to have 155,000 businesses, like restaurants and markets, that offer surplus meals, often discounted, to about 85 million users worldwide.

The goal is to save money, anxiety and some greenhouse gases. Worldwide, discarded food accounts for 8 to 10 percent of planet-warming emissions. That’s because rotting food produces heat-trapping methane gas.

Here’s what I got during my weeklong experiment, all around Manhattan, trying to keep some of those meals out of the bin.

• Two one-quart containers of soup: Chicken and rice and a creamy tomato
• Potato chips
• One focaccia sandwich with mozzarella, tomato and sautéed mushrooms
• One croissant

Total spent: $11

Most meals on the app are sold as “surprise bags,” usually at the end of the day, and you often have no idea what you’ll get. That makes the experience something like gambling. And it can be strangely addictive like gambling. For me, at least.

This first day’s haul came from Remedy Diner in the morning and Rent Money Lounge in the afternoon, both on the Lower East Side.

• A croissant
• A blueberry muffin
• A slice of gluten-free banana bread
• Two six-packs of frozen Chinese buns: One with sour cabbage and tofu, the other plain cabbage
• One block of spiced dry tofu
• One bag of frozen, vegan tuna made from non-GMO soybeans
• A tuna salad wrap sandwich
• Six ham and cheese finger sandwiches
• A big slice of chocolate cake and six cannoli pastries

Total spent: $17

On this day, I made three stops: A cafe chain called Bluestone Lane, Lily’s Vegan Pantry in Chinatown and Gourmet Garage in the West Village.

It was a huge load of food for that much money. The vegan snacks from Lily’s, like the buns and tuna, were a deliciously pleasant surprise. The Gourmet Garage bag, on the other hand, left me underwhelmed. How about some fresh produce, guys? Still, I made out like a bandit.

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