Fridge of free stuff – Community Fridge
Weston-super-Mare is to get its first Community Fridge. This exciting platform for sharing surplus food within a community to reduce food waste going to landfill will have a home in the Sovereign Shopping centre and be available to everyone.
Weston Town Council’s Climate Change Working Group has been looking at initiatives to reduce food waste. This project is possible through the collaborative efforts of WsM Helping People, For All Healthy Living Centre, The Sovereign Centre, First Step Housing and North Somerset Council who are working with Weston-super-Mare Town Council’s Community Resilience team to bring this project to fruition. There is also a list of food suppliers keen to support including Fair Share, Co-op and other local retailers that have surplus supplies of foods which would otherwise be thrown away.
Why give away free food to everyone?
Through analysis carried out by Frome Town Council in 2019, for their Community Fridge, the potential impact of the Community Fridge is clear:
- The average community fridge redistributes around 500 kg of food per month, which equates to about 2.1 tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions. The busiest fridges see around 4 tonnes of food passing through each month which equates to a saving of almost 17 tonnes of CO2-equivalent emissions.
- Over a year the average fridge will have avoided over 25 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions – meaning that across the UK network of community fridges an estimated total of 1,625 tonnes of CO2-equivalent emissions are avoided.
- Food waste is generally overlooked as a big environmental issue yet it is responsible for 8-10% of the total human-caused greenhouse gas emissions globally.
- When food waste is disposed of it breaks down to release a gas that is around 50% methane and 50% carbon dioxide. Globally this contributes up to 70 million tonnes of methane each year – more than from coal mining and natural gas leaks combined, and almost as much as is emitted by farm animals.
- Up to 35% of food in high-income economies is thrown away by consumers.
- In the UK we waste 5 million tonnes of edible food every year.
- The estimated value of total food wasted in the UK for 2015 was £20 billion.
- One third of household bread and one quarter of vegetables in the UK that could have been eaten is thrown away.
- It has been calculated that reducing food waste globally could have almost the same impact on lowering emissions as onshore wind turbines by 2050 – avoiding the emission of 70 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases.
- A recent study by Project Drawdown, a global group of scientists, entrepreneurs and environmentalists, ranked the top-100 ways of addressing climate change according to their potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing food waste came in at number 3 – far above electric vehicles, solar panels and recycling.
By making this food available to everyone we play our part to stop this waste. And if you’ve had a tough week on your purse strings, it also lightens the load. You might see a pineapple going for grabs, and think ‘I haven’t had a pineapple in ages’ pop it on your arm and that one thing can make a whole day.
The food on offer is fresh, free and local. It is hoped that recipe exchange and an information hub will be set up alongside the community fridge.
We are pulling together a team of volunteers to assist with the running of the community fridge. If you have some free time, would enjoy meeting new people and want to play a part in the fight against climate change please apply with this link http://bttr.im/zin8t
The fridge will launch towards the end of October date TBC.
The fridge is one of a growing number opening up across the UK. The concept first arrived in the UK in 2016 with Community Fridges opening up in Swadlincote, Frome and London. Now over 50 projects are running across the country.
Some of the challenges faced by Community Fridges to-date are around the legal requirements and food hygiene. The world’s first Community Fridge Network has been set up by environmental charity Hubbub to provide free advice and support to Community Fridge organisers and act as a hub to enable communities to share their experiences and learn from each other.
More information on The Community Fridge Network, including a map of fridge locations and advice for those interested in setting up a community fridge can be found at www.hubbub.org.uk/communityfridgenetwork