‘Community Fridges’ otherwise known as ‘Solidarity’ or ‘Honesty’ Fridges, have been successfully introduced in a number of countries in recent years. Since 2016, over a hundred Community Fridges have been established in the UK alone. Each fridge operates slightly differently, but they all share a vision to reduce waste and bring communities together around good food.
A ‘Community Fridge Network’ has been set up in the UK by Hubbub. It supports groups to run safely, connect with one another and effectively re-distribute surplus food across the UK. Hubbub is keen to share learning with groups in the USA and beyond.
Community Fridges primarily address the environmentally damaging issue of food waste by offering a hyper-local food redistribution scheme. This provides the opportunity for domestic and business food waste to move up the food and drink materials hierarchy offering a significant impact on CO2 emissions. According to WRAP, if we stopped wasting avoidable food and drink it would save ca. 19 Mt CO2eq. On average Community Fridges in the UK are redistributing 4 Tonnes of food per month. Based on WRAP’s calculations that 4.4 mt = 19 mt CO2e, one community fridge will be able to reduce CO2e by 311t per year.
Community Fridges equally help to address social isolation by bringing people together. They normalise the sharing of food, and household items, and provide a communal space for food and environmental activities. As such, Community Fridges are sites of food skills and education and a springboard for community action on climate. First stop a fridge, next, a community garden, food, coop or share shop.
In many cases, they also provide fresh food to those struggling to access regular, healthy meals. However, it is important that Community Fridge provision does bot become a substitute for robust social programmes which address the root cause of food poverty.
About Hubbub UK
Hubbub UK is a charity that creates environmental campaigns with a difference - they create positive and playful campaigns that inspire people to make healthier, greener lifestyle choices: www.hubbub.org.uk
Hubbub runs the Community Fridge Network in the UK and support Community Fridge projects around the world.
How to get involved
The time it takes to manage and set up a fridge varies from community to community but it will need 1-3 days a week to ensure it runs smoothly.
This guide provides an overview of how to set up a Community Fridge. Hubbub UK have put together an amazing resource pack, which you can find in the Resources Section of your local Community Fridge page. All of these materials should be used as guidance and bear in mind that one size doesn't always fit all as there are many ways to run a successful Community Fridge.