Having already sprung up in several cities in Europe and France they have just made their appearance in Paris. The capital’s first community fridges are an excellent symbol of charitable initiatives to prevent food waste and establish a new sharing economy.
We have already mentioned in the past how Food Tech, with applications such as Optimiam or Too Good to go, could help everyone to limit food waste, with a win/win system for users. Today a new city initiative has made its appearance that does not require the skills of a developer or the use of a smartphone. It is based on a really simple idea: putting a self-service fridge in the street. In the 18th district of Paris, an association called Le Carillon and the Cantine restaurant in the same district, have introduced the community fridge initiative.
This encouragement to share food may prove useful, given that a French person wastes an average of 137 kg of food a year. Or one English person throws away the equivalent of 9 pounds of food every week.
Incidentally, the French capital was lagging behind as these community fridges have existed in Germany since 2012. The United Kingdom, Belgium and Spain have also had community fridges since 2014, using crowd-funding platforms to finance the logistics side, in particular.
Whether called Lebensmitterlretter in Germany, community fridges in London or neveras solidarias in Galdakao, the systems work the same: anyone can put food in and anyone can take it out.
Since they were first introduced in Berlin, more than 10,000 volunteers throughout the country go the rounds of over a thousand partner supermarkets and other shops and restaurants. In the United Kingdom, Chef Jamie Oliver, well known for his commitment to a food revolution, gladly volunteers to go out and launch community fridges.
Unlike food banks that can only distribute non-perishable products, the advantage is that dairy products, fruit and vegetables or meat that can still be consumed are available to people who cannot afford a balanced, varied diet. This also concerns people who are suffering from hunger.
Community fridges are therefore a new sort of urban furniture that is creating a social link between various sectors of the population, at the same time, enabling the general public and public and private stakeholders to keep in mind the challenges to be taken up to combat food waste.