“Good Food Display – NCI Visuals Online” by Unknown – Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons
Unhappy with the amount of food being thrown out by supermarkets in Galdakao, few citizens of the small Spanish settlement found an ingenious solution to addressing the issue: a “solidarity fridge’’.
Installed on a pavement in the city and surrounded by a wooden fence (to conveying the idea that this is not an abandoned appliance), the fridge is available for everyone to drop off and pick up leftovers that would otherwise be thrown out.
The fridge isn’t charity – anyone who wants it can take the food; fighting against waste is the only idea that underlies this project. However, for the safety of the consumers there are few strict rules: the donated food should not include raw fish, meat or eggs; goods must be before their use-by date; and homemade items must be labeled to include the preparation date.
“We started to think that if even just one of their rubbish bins was replaced with a fridge, people could take advantage of these items” organizer Álvaro Saiz told The Guardian. Indeed the results are really promising: in the seven weeks since the fridge’s inception, Saiz estimates the town has saved between 200 and 300 kg (about 450-650 lbs.) of food that otherwise would have been tossed away.
Moreover, Galdakao’s successful project inspired other communities as well. Last week, the city of Murcia became the second Spanish city to host a solidarity fridge while communities as far away as Bolivia have expressed their interest in setting up similar systems.
Although it is something new for Spain, the concept isn’t something new for Germany where more than 100 similar food sharing sites has existed for several years.