The Community Fridge: 1 Year On

It’s been a year since the Community Fridge first opened!!! Wow I could never have imagined what would happened after launching the Community Fridge. It was initially just a 3 and a half week trial, and now here we are!  

If you aren’t familiar with the Community Fridge here are my previous blog posts: 

And here’s a short video from launch day explaining the fridge: 

The fridge was set up with funding I received through Auckland Council’s Love Food Hate Waste fund. With the help of the team at Love Food Hate Waste and Auckland Council staff it took about 6 weeks of secretive planning to establish the fridge. The fridge was donated by Resource Rescue after being recovered from the inorganic (hard rubbish) collection and fixed up. The fridge was received with major success and covered on a plethora of different media channels.

After the trial period the fridge was shut down, as originally planned, while we decided how to keep it going in the long term. People kept trying to use the Community Fridge and someone even jimmied open the locks and it started getting used ‘guerilla style.’ Unfortunately we didn’t have any volunteers looking after it so the fridge had to be moved.

Read more: What Happened to the Community Fridge? 

The fridge finally re-opened for good in February 2017, thanks to wonderful people who answered our call for volunteers and with Council’s support. The fridge now has 3 volunteer rosters; cleaning and donation pick ups. Special thanks to Jenny Marshall who is the chief volunteer coordinator & sends out weekly email updates. Volunteers run a daily donation pick up from New World and the Council staff cafe, who contribute surplus food that can’t be sold the following day.  Recently a volunteer from the Salvation Army has also started including the Community Fridge in their food drop off run, after seeing a post on social media. 

There’s been a few minor changes to the fridge since it was originally established. First thing I wanted to change was the compost system. Originally we had a Hungry Bin on site, on loan from the neighbouring Council building. Unfortunately the worms weren’t coping with the large amount of paper towels, inedible surplus food and cardboard. Additionally the bin was getting a tad trashed, the poor worms weren’t happy. So I called up Steve Rickerby from We Compost, and despite having never met me, he very kindly offered to provide the fridge’s composting services free of charge! 

Council has also installed extra lighting to both the fridge and the Griffiths Gardens space. The food labels are now housed in a brochure box so they don’t get wet. Admittedly the food labels are hardly used anymore as food leaves the fridge within an hour maximum. Unfortunately we have had some issues with the shelves and vege crispers from the fridge disappearing and breaking over time. Our awesome volunteers have so far managed to replace or fix most of these. That’s really the worst thing that has happened to the fridge though!

There’s no way of knowing how much food has been donated to the fridge as there is no official log book or counter. I specifically did not want a log book as it was a barrier to using the fridge.  The team at Love Food Hate Waste estimates more than four tonnes of food has been donated to the fridge which is the equivalent to 11,000 meals.

The Community Fridge in Auckland was the first of its kind in New Zealand. Since its inception 2 other fridges have opened: 

I have given 2 University lectures and a number of presentations about the Community Fridge. So approx. 200 people were lectured on food waste, the sharing economy and the zero waste movement in New Zealand. I also did a few interviews and radio interviews after the launch too, so there’s been quite a bit of coverage and awareness. I’ve noticed an increase in sharing economy schemes such as community sharing pantries and a sharing shed. 

Want to get in touch or volunteer for the Community Fridge?

If you would like to set up your own fridge we have put together a rather comprehensive information pack which we can provide. Email us at communityfridgeakl@gmail.com  

Keep up with the community fridge by using #communityfridgeakl on social media. 

  2Comments

  1. Karina   •  

    Hi
    I live in Auckland CBD in an apartment and was really keen to compost, however unable to do so. Do you know if the Composting bin is still available to use at the community fridge ? I went there a couple of times but it doesn’t seem to be there. Thanks

    • Amanda Chapman   •     Author

      Hi Karina, Yes the We Compost bin should still be there to use. I’m glad you’re using it!!That’s strange if it isn’t there though, it’s always there when I’m doing the fridge duty.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *