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The Mull and Iona Community Trust has opened a community fridge in Craignure village hall on the Isle of Mull – the first of its kind to be found on a Scottish island.
The main purpose of the fridge is to reduce food waste. It is open to anyone who has spare food at home that would otherwise go to waste, and people can take the donated food from the fridge for free.
There are some rules: the food must be sealed in its original packaging and within the use-by date, and no alcohol or energy drinks are permitted. But as well as being beneficial for locals, the fridge can also be used by visitors who are on self-catering holiday and have food left over.
The fridge is part of the ReThink MESS project, which is supported by a grant of £249,905 from the Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge Fund.
The trust’s deputy general manager, Dot Stewart, explained: ‘Most fridges are in urban settings, so ours is unusual in being in a rural, island location.
‘Not everyone had heard about community fridges before but once we explained what it was and how it might work, people saw that it could be a useful service for the islands.’
It is also estimated that the average UK family wastes £810 a year by throwing away food and drink which could have been eaten, and £3 billion per year is wasted by food industries.
She said food waste has impacted the UK in many ways: ‘In 2015, UK household food waste was 7.3 million tonnes. Saving some of this from being wasted will save money, help to slow down global warming and deforestation, and reduce food packaging waste.’