Community fridge to reduce waste & feed the hungry

Vector Group Charitable Trust’s Stephen Fawcett wants to set up a community fridge in Te Puke to share excess food with people who need it and reduce food waste.

Apparently, our fridge can tell us a lot about our health, our lifestyle, how we socialise, how we appear and even how well-read we are.

For the Vector Group Charitable Trust, it’s far less complicated. It wants to set up a community fridge in Te Puke to share excess food with people who need it and reduce food waste.

Trust managing director Stephen Fawcett came up with the idea after seeing it in practice in a community garden in central Auckland last year.

“What caught my attention was that it wasn’t just for the homeless,” says Stephen. “There was a sustainable and environmental side to it. I thought it would be a really cool opportunity to reduce food waste and feed those who are hungry.”

The community fridge will accept items such as fresh fruit and vegetables, sandwiches, biscuits and baked goods that are less than two days old. Cooked food will also be accepted from registered kitchens, such as cafes and bakeries.

The fridge will have instructions, explaining what can and can’t be donated and volunteers will be rostered to clean the fridge, check the temperature and remove any unsuitable donations, which will be taken away for composting.

The trust is currently working on a design – ideally it will be something on wheels for ease of movement – and the best way to operate the community fridge, which will be located at its premises at 16 Oxford Street.

Stephen says the community fridge will not operate in competition with other local organisations, such as foodbanks, as it will be dealing with small quantities of perishable food.

New Zealand families throw away $872 million worth of food every year, and cafes, restaurants and supermarkets throw away millions more.

The community fridge movement began in Spain in 2015, with other community fridges now in England, Belgium, Argentina and the United Arab Emirates.

People interested in getting involved in the community fridge project, or who have any design ideas, are invited to contact Stephen at Vector Group via: stephen.fawcett@vectorgroup.org.nz


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