‘I visited the fridges giving away free food as people struggle in the pandemic’

Nada Farhoud (right) visits Reyna Kothari at the community fridge at Old Boat Corner Community Centre in Brighton (Image: Adam Gerrard / Daily Mirror)

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Going away unexpectedly and have some unused food about to go to waste?

Or maybe you are a business with an extra order which will end up in the bin?

In the UK, 6.7 million tonnes of food is wasted per year, the equivalent of £10.2billion.

Once in landfill it then rots and produces methane, a greenhouse gas even more potent than carbon dioxide.

But now a community fridge network is rescuing good quality, surplus food, free of charge from local
retailers, producers, growers, restaurants, schools and households, and putting it to good use.

What do you do to avoid food waste at your home? Share your tips in the comments below…

There's no need to let your surplus food go to waste (stock photo)
(Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)


Environmental charity Hubbub, which set up the network, has 150 community fridges all over the country and hopes to introduce 250 more over the next year in collaboration with The Co-op, saving 6.8m meals per year from going to waste.

I paid a visit to my local fridge at the Old Boat Corner Community Centre in Brighton last week to find out how it is helping to reduce food waste in the area.

Co-ordinator Reyna Kothari, a local mum-of-two, explained how although it was set up to help be less wasteful, in the past year the fridge provided a lifeline for some families struggling as a result of the pandemic.

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The fridges accept donations of cheese, fresh fruit and vegetables, salads, pastries, unopened milk and yogurts, eggs and sealed packages.

Reyna, who helped set up the fridge in 2019, said how she hoped the stigma of accepting “free food” was removed.

She said: “The fridges are for everybody, not just people who
financially need a bit of help.

“The local school last week donated loads of tomatoes that would have gone to waste due to half-term. It has been great to hear how people have been making chutneys, pasta sauces and soups with them.”

Go to Hubbub for more info or to find a fridge near you.

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