FOOD that was destined for the bin is now being offered to people for free in a new community fridge created to tackle waste and poverty.

Abingdon mayor Charlie Birks joined residents last week to officially launch Abingdon Community Fridge.

It is stocked with food that would otherwise have been thrown away and is donated by residents and supermarkets including the Co-op, Tesco and Waitrose.

Anyone is welcome to take food from the fridge, which houses a selection of fresh fruits, vegetables and baked goods.

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The fridge is managed entirely by volunteers from The Replenish Project, a countywide food waste prevention scheme funded by Oxfordshire County Council.

Volunteers say the fridge, which was donated by the Oxford Garden Project, has so far prevented more than a tonne of food from being binned and has had over 300 visitors since it was installed in August.

Kerry Lock, one of the volunteers, said: “It’s been fantastic to see the impact the fridge has had on the local community.

“So many people have told us how much it has helped them, and it’s great to see food going to those who need it rather than filling bins.”

Oxford Mail:

Abingdon mayor Charlie Birks

Rachel Burns, Waste Strategy Manager at the county council, added:“We are so pleased that local businesses are supporting the project and ensuring that good food is eaten rather than thrown away.

"The fridge is also a brilliant place for residents to share food with neighbours and stop it from being discarded."

She continued: "If you are emptying your fridge before a holiday or have excess produce growing in the garden, then consider taking it to your local fridge so that it can be enjoyed by others.”

According to the food waste charity Fareshare, 1.9 million tonnes of food is wasted by the food industry in the UK each year.

It adds that 250,000 tonnes of that food is still edible – enough for 650 million meals.

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This is despite an estimated 8.4 million people in the UK struggling to afford to eat.

Community fridge have also been opened in Blackbird Leys and Wallingford in recent months.

Oxford Food Bank, which matches up excess fruit, vegetables, bakery and dairy products with charities that could make use of them, also celebrated its 10th anniversary on Sunday at its Botley base.

The Abingdon fridge is located at the Abbey Centre off Audlett Drive, and is open to the public between 9.30am and 3.30pm from Monday to Friday.

To keep up to date with the project search Abingdon Community Fridge on Facebook.