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A Community Fridge is a refrigerator (colloquially "fridge") located in a public space. It enables food to be shared within a community, as anyone can put food in and take food out. The main aim of Community Fridges is to reduce food waste. They also enable people facing hardship to have easy access to fresh, nutritious food. Community Fridges are normally social spaces that enable people to connect to their communities. Some Community Fridges also have an associated area for non-perishable food.
In the UK, early Community Fridges were set up at Frome, South Derbyshire, Brixton (London), and Botley (Oxford). A national network of Community Fridges was set up in July 2017 by the environmental charity Hubbub UK, which offers a free support service to new projects.
Issues surrounding Community Fridges include ensuring that they are kept clean, ensuring that the food is safe, and making sure that they are not abused (e.g. that nobody profits from the food). For instance, in the UK, setting up a Community Fridge requires a rota of volunteers to clean the fridge and check the food; public liability insurance; the support of the local authority environmental health officer; and, evidently, a fridge and associated waste bins. Several community fridges in Germany were threatened with closure due to health concerns.
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