What is a community fridge?

Rebecca Wilson, passionate about recycling across South Yorkshire
Rebecca Wilson
6 Jan 2023

Have you heard of a community fridge?


More and more are popping up in communities all across the country, and here in South Yorkshire, helping to tackle food waste from supermarkets, local businesses, and households.

Food waste prevention using community fridges. Image from Shutterstock.

The problem of food waste

Food waste is an expensive and environmentally damaging problem our society faces. In the UK, £13 billion worth of still edible food is thrown away by households and £3 billion by the hospitality and food service sector every year.


Wasting food also contributes to climate change- If food waste was a country, it would be the third largest contributor to carbon emissions and climate change in the world behind the USA and China.



What are community fridges? And what are the benefits?

Community fridges, or community pantries, are a tried and tested way of stopping perfectly good food from going to waste. Unlike food banks, they can be accessed by anyone within the community looking to tackle food waste and are often set up within local community centres, cafes, libraries, and schools. Most run for a couple of hours per week and are ran by volunteers.

Not only do community fridges help tackle food waste, but they also help strengthen community bonds and are often sites for food and nutritional education.

Surplus foods are donated by local businesses, supermarkets or even members of the public.


Where can I find out more?

If you are looking for your local community fridge, or want to set up your own, check out the Hubbub Community Fridge Network website. On there is a map with all the registered community fridges in the network, how to guides on starting a community fridge and information about potential funding sources.




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