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Food & Hunger

This Supermarket Will Help Double the UK's 'Honesty Fridge' Network to Cut Food Waste

A network of community fridges across the UK could nearly double in size in just six months, thanks to a £45,000 boost in funding from the supermarket Morrisons. 

The Community Fridge Network, run by environmental charity Hubbub, currently operates 31 fridges around the UK. But by November, it hopes there will be 58, according to the Guardian

The refrigerators, also known as "honesty fridges," operate by providing a supply of free, fresh food to those who need it. 

Take action: Tweet Starbucks Asking Them to Donate 100% of Unused Food to Charity in the UK

They are stocked with food donated by local retailers, restaurants, and individuals. Generally, the food is close to its sell-by date and, if not used, would just contribute to the £13 billion worth of food wasted in the UK every year. 

"Every area should have a community fridge," Trewin Restorick, chief executive of Hubbub, told the Guardian. "It's a wonderfully simple way to stop fresh food from going to waste and it's fantastic to see organisations like Morrisons supporting the network."

"With more investment and support from big businesses, we can make sure so much more fresh food is enjoyed and not destroyed," he added. 

Each community fridge reportedly distributes around half a tonne of food a month. That means that by November, the existing fridges will have saved around 90 tonnes of food from the bin.

Read more: The EU Just Took a Major Step Toward Cutting Food Waste in Half by 2030

Food waste is a serious problem in both in the UK and globally. The average family in the UK wastes around £470 worth of perfectly edible food and drink every year. 

Globally, a third of all food produced — worth nearly $1 trillion — is wasted every year, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). In Europe, it's estimated that around 88 million tonnes of edible food are thrown out annually — at a cost of €143 billion (£126 billion). 

Meanwhile, according to campaigners, some 55 million people around the world struggle to find enough to eat. 

The new funding for the community fridges is being given by the Morrisons Foundation, which supports charities working in local communities and has donated £18 million since its launch in 2015. 

Read more: A Third of All Food Is Never Eaten — But These Chefs Are Working to Change That

The Community Fridge Network launched in July 2017, and since then it has also received support from Sainsbury’s, the North London Waste Authority, the Funding Network, and the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation. It also received £160,000 from the National Lottery in December 2017, and engineering and electronics company Bosch donates the fridges. 

Meanwhile, Tesco, Morrisons, Waitrose, the Co-op, Marks & Spencer, Lidl, Spar, and Nando’s have all donated food to help stock them. 

You can find your nearest community fridge, and how you can get involved, here.

Global Citizen campaigns to achieve the UN’s Global Goals to end extreme poverty by 2030, which include action on ending hunger. You can join us by taking action on this issue here