VIDEO: University launches Sheffield's first 'community fridge' to combat food waste

Savvy Sheffield students have come together to tackle food waste while giving back to the community at the same time.

Monday, 15th January 2018, 2:07 pm
Updated Monday, 15th January 2018, 2:10 pm
Gavin Brown from the University of Sheffield and Megan McGrath from the UoS Students' Union at the launch of the 'Community Fridge'
Gavin Brown from the University of Sheffield and Megan McGrath from the UoS Students' Union at the launch of the 'Community Fridge'

Students and bosses at the University of Sheffield have taken inspiration from TV Chef Jamie Oliver to install Sheffield's first 'community fridge' located at the Edge Cafe on the Endcliffe Village.

The university has secured funding from supermarket giant Sainsbury's and the 'community fridge' will be open every day for people to share surplus food and for members of the community to help themselves to quality grub that would otherwise be wasted.

Gavin Brown from the University of Sheffield and Megan McGrath from the UoS Students' Union at the launch of the 'Community Fridge'

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Students could soon be saving some serious dosh by rustling up a top notch meal for free from food which otherwise be chucked in the bin.

But the unwanted grub is not just for students struggling until the next loan installment comes in - residents can also pick yup items for free.

The scheme is hoped to be replicated across the university and the city.

Students' Union development officer Megan McGrath is one of those involved with the scheme.

Gavin Brown from the University of Sheffield and Megan McGrath from the UoS Students' Union at the launch of the 'Community Fridge'

She said: "In the student community, lots of food does get wasted when terms end or people go home for the weekend. It's to combat that but also it's about being more environmentally conscious.

"There's also an element of well being for students so they can come down here with a community of people who are fighting food waste. In turn, they can take some of this back with them to their flats and cook with their housemates when they might not have had the funds before.

"This is a really big initiative and movement to fighting food waste in Sheffield so we hope this can greatly help students and members of the local community."

Businesses and other food organisations have joined up to the scheme to send unwanted food for others to eat.

Gavin Brown from the University of Sheffield and Megan McGrath from the UoS Students' Union at the launch of the 'Community Fridge'

Gavin Brown, head of commercial services at the University of Sheffield said he took inspiration from Jamie Oliver.

He said: "We have around 5,000 students who live around this site so what we're trying to do is make sure students who've got food going to waste in their kitchens and fridges to come down here and donate it so others can have it and it doesn't end up in the bin.

"We partner with other food companies such as an organisation like Save Our Sandwiches so if we have any sandwiches left over from our university cafes we donate them to the Real Junk Food Project and also the Foodhall Project so this is part of supporting the community as well.

"I was watching Jamie Oliver's Friday Night Feast on Channel 4 last year and I saw the community fridge there which gave us the idea to have one here so we bid to get some funding for it.

Gavin Brown from the University of Sheffield and Megan McGrath from the UoS Students' Union at the launch of the 'Community Fridge'

"We hope this is the start of something that will go across the university and it's the first of many."

A Sainsbury’s spokesman added: “It’s great to see Sheffield come together as a community to tackle this growing issue of food waste.

"Community fridges are a simple way to make sure healthy, perishable food gets put to good use and they also serve a much wider role in bringing communities together.

"The community spirit here is something to be proud of and we hope that the fridge helps locals to waste less food.”