Reducing food waste and empowering communities

Did you know that the average family of four wastes £720 of food a year? People and businesses are becoming more aware of food waste, and it can often be a hard thing to avoid. 

Enter the community fridge; an easy way to share good food go further. A community fridge is a space where anyone who lives nearby can exchange surplus food, including businesses. 

Hubbub coordinates the world’s largest Community Fridge Network with over 100 incredible community fridges running around the UK, and plenty more setting up. We offer free support to groups to set up their community fridge and provide a comprehensive guide, design assets, health and safety templates and a free fridges!  

Follow the campaign on social media with the hashtag #CommunityFridge

Creating resilient communities

We trialled our first community fridge in 2016. Since then, 100 community fridges have taken root across the UK helping thousands connect to their neighbours, access nutritious food, save money and reduce waste.  

The difference made

Between November 2019 and October 2020, 110 fridges in the CFN redistributed the equivalent of over 4 million meals (over 2,000 tonnes of food surplus) to over 150,000 unique visitors. By the end of 2021, we predict there will be over 200 fridges in the country.

With each fridge sharing one to four tonnes of food per month, the collective impact of the Community Fridge Network is huge. 

What’s more important though, is the stories that we hear from the communities. The fridge brings people together, it addresses social isolation and provides people with the opportunity to access healthy food, try something new and save money. 

In a nutshell, a fridge is often so much more than a fridge. As well as introducing you to new people and foods, community fridges host all kinds of activities such as cooking workshops, allotments, clothes swaps… you name it. 

Retailers redistributing surplus food across the network include Tesco, Sainsbury's, Morrisons, Waitrose, Co-op, Costa, Marks & Spencer, Riverford Organic, Spar, and many local businesses. 

Read and download the full impact report for 2020

What's next for the fridges? 

Hubbub has launched a Greenprint for a better Britain - a manifesto of 10 policies seeking to ensure that the UK makes a sustainable recovery from COVID-19. As part of the food policy, we’re asking the government to create ‘Community Food Hubs’ in areas of high food insecurity to improve access to healthy food, offer a sharing scheme for donated surplus food, provide a marketplace for local producers, deliver food boxes for local households in need, and their kitchens could be used to support local people with cooking skills and nutritional advice. Want to help make this a reality? Please sign up to support the Greenprint.

SUPPORT THE GREENPRINT

How can you get involved?

1) Visit your local community fridge

In light of COVID-19, some of the community fridges listed below have changed their opening hours. If you are planning to visit a fridge, please give them a call to check when/if they are open.

A community fridge can be accessed by anyone in the community, and anyone can give to or take food from the fridge! There are some rules on what you can and cannot put in the fridge (for health and safety reasons), so do check this when you visit or give them a call to find out more. 

Use the map below to find your nearest community fridge and get in touch directly with the organisers to get involved. A few ways you can support your community fridge: 

  • Spread the word with the hashtag #CommunityFridge
  • Share surplus food that you’re not going to use, perhaps you’re a gardener, going on holiday or just about to move house 
  • Try something new, take food from the fridge 
  • Volunteer your time to support your local community fridge – you can help collect surplus food from shops, come up with plans for fundraising, promote the initiative locally or develop their activities! 

This map is ever-changing. We keep it up to date as often as we can but please contact the local organisers for further information. 

 

2) Set up your own community fridge!

Most community fridges are started by one person who felt and knew they could make a difference in their area. If this sounds like you, get in touch at [email protected] to find out how to get started. 

You can also join the open community fridge Facebook group here.

Thanks to The National Lottery Community Fund for support to grow the Community Fridge Network, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation for support in making The Community Fridge Film, and thanks to Bosch, Morrison's Foundation, Rothschild Foundation, Climate Challenge Fund, Samsung, North London Waste Authority, Liebherr and Sainsbury’s for their ongoing support. 

References 

*WRAP Love Food Hate Waste website (https://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com/article/whats-it-me, as of May 2020

Terms & conditions

Read the terms & conditions of the Community Fridge Network here.