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This is the archive site of Global Sustainability Jam 2011-2018. From 2019 on please visit

Free Your Food

decreasing food wastage through a shared refrigerator in the common space of your apartment compex

Food wastage is a big problem today. For some reason, we are throwing out a lot more than we were in the past when we grew our food and had more time to plan out our meals. There is currently enough food to feed the entire world. And yet, hunger still exists. A significant way to reduce food waste is by starting in our households.

It would be great if society became more conscious of the food it wastes and the negative consequences which result from this behaviour. Despite any petitioning, we really cannot expect society to dramatically change their hectic lifestyle and habits for no "urgent" reason. Thus, our team had wanted to work with the way our society functions now, to transform a big problem into an opportunity for community building and food saving.

Imagine a public refrigerator which all people of an apartment complex can share. When you know that you have too much food to finish, you can place it in the fridge for others to enjoy.

For this to function, a few motivated individuals must take action to promote this concept in their apartment complex or dormitory. Assigned volunteers would be responsible for the refridgerators upkeep and the controlling freshness of the food contents. The volunteer should check the fridge on a daily basis for food that should be discarded. If the volunteer finds that (for example) people prefer to take ripe vegetables as opposed to sandwiches, they should notify the community via an information board that they should refrain form donating food which is constantly found to be unpopular. A clear labeling system and an information board, allows the system to work smoothly. You should include on your label: (1) when the food was put in the fridge, (2) what it is, and (3) your contact info.

If every person in the apartment donated a piece of food which they do not plan to finish (and would otherwise through out) we would have a full fridge of meals to share. On average, a house in the UK wastes around 60 GDP worth of food every month.

First impressions are also important. The first time the people see the fridge, it should be clean and it should have some yummy food inside. People may have mental barriers at first when it comes to using the common fridge. It must be presented in a positive way. We are SHARING FOOD, not eating left overs. We are SAVING FOOD not collecting scraps.

Ideally, the refrigerator should have a glass window on the front so any passerby of the complex can view the food available. However, this is not mandatory. Any refrigerator will do. It ought to be placed in a common area which should be kept clean. The hallway or corner chosen as the best location ought to also be as inviting as possible. Good lighting, plants, and use of color can help with this.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us! Free your extra food from the confinement of your individual kitchens. Rather than ending up in the trash bin after a day or two, your extra food has the potential to make someone happy today.

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Team members

Credits and attribution

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Creative Commons Licence