The Borough’s first community fridge, based at Eden Allotment Gardens, has been open for 8 months, and volunteers are keen to share good news about how successful the initiative has proven so far.
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr William McCaughey said: “The fridge opened in June 2021, supported by Council, Carrickfergus Vineyard and a network of local volunteers. Donations come from local suppliers Tesco, M&S and Henderson. Volunteers collect deliveries from suppliers, stock the fridge, ensure cleanliness and hygiene of area, and open and close the fridge.
“Based on volunteer calculations, the estimated environmental benefits from a six-month period at the Eden Community Fridge (July 2021 to January 2022) include: 48,488kg (just under 48.5 tonnes) food saved from landfill, 115,456 meals redistributed and 155,168kg (just over 155 tonnes) CO2 saved from the atmosphere.
“I was delighted to attend the official launch of the fridge and I’m even more delighted to see how much good the community fridge is doing. These environmental achievements are hugely impressive and I’d like to extend my sincere thanks to the volunteers once again, as well as to the Department of Communities Covid-19 Food Partnership Fund which made the project possible.”
Community fridge volunteer, Carly Ogilvie, said: “To put it in perspective, 48 tonnes is the weight of 56 Fiat 500 cars, or the weight of 12 Asian elephants. We are thrilled with the figures and seeing how much food we are helping to save from landfill.
“The main aim of the fridge was always to reduce waste and have a positive impact on the environment, but as well as this we have had a lot of positive feedback from members of the public making use of the fridge. We have had reports of people bringing care packages to neighbours, people sharing recipe ideas, people coming to the fridge to enjoy the social element and meet new people, as well as people using the fridge for additional supplies in times of scarcity.
“The volunteers really feel we are doing our bit for people and for the planet through this initiative.”
Cllr McCaughey concluded: “I would like to remind fridge users that the fridge is manned through the goodwill of community volunteers, as such, opening hours do depend on volunteer availability and supplier donations, and I would reiterate the main aim of the fridge is to redistribute food to avoid wastage. Community fridges differ from the vital role Food Banks play, it is not means tested, and is open to everyone to make use of.
“With Islandmagee Community fridge opening just before Christmas, and with two more fridges due to open their doors this spring, I look forward to seeing more success to follow.”
For Eden Community Fridge updates visit @CarrickfergusCommuntiyFridge on Facebook
For Islandmagee Community Fridge updates visit @IslandmageeCommunityGarden on Facebook