A Community Fridge – Waste Less Save More

We’ve handed the blog over to Andy at ACS today! Andy talks to us about a new community fridge project set up to prevent food waste at the university. With an an estimated four million people live in food poverty in the UK, our community needs more projects like this!  The community fridge launches next Monday the 15th of January at 10:00 AM in the Edge dining room! If you or your team would like to contribute to the blog, get in touch at greenimpact@sheffield.ac.uk.



What is a community fridge?

community fridge is a refrigerator (colloquially “fridge“) located in a public space, into which anyone can put food and from which anyone can take food. The main aim of community fridges is to reduce food waste. A secondary aim for some community fridges is to provide food to people in need.

What’s in it for me??

Well its free food really.

This is a joint venture between the University of Sheffield (ACS and  UNICUS) , the Students Union  and Sainsbury’s who have worked together to create the  “community fridge” where people or businesses can share surplus food that would have been thrown away has opened in the Edge dining room at Endcliffe.

We successfully applied to Sainsbury’s for a grant to make this happen.

Students, staff and local people can donate vegetables, bread, sandwiches and packaged goods within their use-by date to the project in Endcliffe, but not raw meat, fish or eggs.

‘Food poverty’

Food waste is avoidable and could have been eaten.

The national figures show that the average UK household wastes £470 worth of food every year.

“Every day we throw away 220,000 loaves of bread, five million potatoes, and 660,000 eggs,” “At the same time an estimated four million people live in food poverty in the UK and don’t eat enough fresh fruit and vegetables”.

If you haven’t heard of a community fridge, I’ve little doubt that you soon will. These unassuming appliances are popping up around the globe and becoming part of the furniture in community spaces and on street corners.

First started in Berlin circa 2013, community fridges are a temporary home to unwanted food, be it surplus from retailers, eateries or households. The idea is that those who have no use for an item of food can see it go to someone who does. Money is saved and less food is consigned to the bin. Don’t panic, fridges come with rules and food safety regulations fit for their host community.

The Concept is Simple but the Implications are Huge.

In a trial community fridge in 2016 as a part of Sainsbury’s Waste Less, Save More campaign in Swadlincote, 1.3 tonnes of food was exchanged in this small Derbyshire town, reaching 277 individuals and 11 community organisations within 4 months

Although it’s early days, we can see the fridge taking root in the community and forging relations between the local businesses, organisations and students and staff sharing food.

People wanting to donate produce can place their contribution on the appropriate shelf.

The fridge will be open from 08:00 to 22.00 daily.

So why not come down to the Edge and see it in all its glory and take a cabbage or two and cook a meal?

Don’t forget to leave a message in the visitor’s book!

Here's some other posts you might want to read!

3 thoughts on “A Community Fridge – Waste Less Save More”

  1. Hello, I think this is a great idea, how did you deal with this with regards to allergens?
    Did you put food in there that was passed its best before date? I realise legally you can not put food passed its used by date. Many thanks in Advance.

    1. Hi Kathryn, thank for your your questions are the answers are

      we have a disclaimer on the the fridge which takes into account the allergens issue and also gives advice on what can / cannot be accepted in the fridge.. we are very specific on best before / use by dates.

      We have our food and hygiene trained staff monitor the fridge several times a day .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *