What are they?
Community Fridges are public spaces where food is shared within the community.
They provide individuals and businesses a space to take food that would otherwise have been thrown away, enabling other members of the community to take home good quality food for free!
Not only do Community Fridges help to reduce food waste they also bring people together by creating a social space to share food-saving tips or develop other community-led activities.
How do they work?
Community Fridges are welcoming spaces and open to everyone to use; whether you share surplus food or take it away.
You might be a gardener with an abundance of veg, going on holiday and have fresh items that need eating, or perhaps you are moving house and are clearing your cupboards. If you have food that you are not going to eat, you can take it to a fridge for others to enjoy.
By taking food from a Community Fridge, you are preventing it from being thrown away and promoting food sharing within communities. Fridges are for anyone in the community and food is free to take, regardless of your financial circumstances. They exist to connect communities and reduce food waste.
The Fridges are run by volunteers and opening times vary. Simply turn up when it is open and “take what you need or leave what you don’t”.
To ensure high food safety standards there are some restrictions on the items that Fridges will accept. This is a general list which may vary between fridges, so worth checking before you go.
- Sealed packaged foods (tins, packets, jars, etc.)
- Fresh fruit, vegetables and salads
- Pasteurised milk and yoghurt (unopened)
- Fruit juices (unopened)
- Fresh eggs (Lion stamped with a best before date)
Community fridges in Suffolk
Other food redistribution projects in Suffolk
Why do we need Community Fridges and other food redistribution networks?
WRAP estimates that 9.5 million tonnes of food is wasted yearly in the UK.
This is valued at over £19 billion and generates 36 million tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
70% of this food waste comes from UK households which is equivalent to more than £14 billion a year and 25 million tonnes of GHG emissions.
The average UK family wastes over £700 of food a year. That means £60 of food that could have been eaten goes in the bin, every month.
In Suffolk, almost 35% of the waste in our rubbish bins at home is food. Over a third of that is still in its packaging, unopened.
Elsewhere in the food supply chain, 16% of food waste comes from the manufacturing sector, 12% from hospitality and food services and 3% from retail.
Redistributing their surplus food is one way that businesses can reduce the amount of food that ends up as waste.
Community Fridges rescue surplus food from local food growers, producers, retailers, restaurants and households.
How can I get involved?
You could volunteer your time to your local Community Fridge by collecting surplus food from businesses, opening and closing the fridge, managing stock and cleaning, promoting the initiative in your community and organising activities.