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ZERO Community Fridge

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CO2e conversion factor from WRAP UK

What Is A Community Fridge?

A community fridge saves perfectly good food which is nearing the end of its supermarket shelf life, and distributes it to the community, helping to reduce the amount of food being wasted. Food waste in the UK generates more than 25 million tons of CO2 emissions annually - more than Kenya’s entire annual emissions!

The ZERO Community Fridge is funded by a partnership between the Co-op and charity Hubbub, who run the Community Fridge Network - Thank you the Co-op!


The main focus of a community fridge is reducing the waste and emissions related to food waste, but it can have the secondary function of being a useful source of sharing for community members who need it. It can also be fun! Lots of our fridge regulars hang out during and after our sessions with a hot drink from the ZERO cafe with a free community fridge pastry, and enjoy the community aspect to it.

The Park Barn Centre also has a community fridge, started by GBC’s Community Wellbeing team and staffed by volunteers, and has been a successful council-led venture. The ZERO community fridge is the first to serve our town centre.


The ZERO community fridge stocked with food that would otherwise go to waste (Oct 2022)

What Does This Project Achieve? 

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Waste Reduction 

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Emissions Reduction 

Community Cohesion


How Does The ZERO Community Fridge Work?

Who can take food?

Anyone is welcome! No referrals needed. The goal is to cut food waste emissions, so the initiative is open to all.

When is the Community Fridge open?

Tuesdays and Thursdays 10:30am.


Where is the Community Fridge?

Address: ZERO, 168 High Street, Guildford GU1 3HW 

what3words: paint.nets.attend

How does it work?

We operate a random lottery number queuing system for the first hour from 10.30 - 11.30 to make sure the food is given out in a fair way. After 11.30, the food is free to be taken on a drop-in basis.

What Problem Is This Addressing?

Food waste is a HUGE problem, contributing 8 -10% of man made carbon emissions globally - and the gut punch is it's almost totally avoidable. 

But the good news about an avoidable problem is that it can be fixed! A combination of public pressure to reverse supermarkets wasteful aesthetics policies, community farm to plate schemes, and good planning, freezing, and thinking outside the box at home can combine to make significant reductions in food waste. Check out our food waste blog for tips on cutting your food waste footprint. 

What food will be donated?

Food donations will change from day to day, depending on what food is surplus at local partner supermarkets and other retailers.

If any retailers want to join the scheme, please email:

How do I know the food is safe to eat?

We will check the food, monitor the temperature and clean the Fridge regularly. ZERO is a Guildford Borough Council registered food business.


Baked goods from Hoxton Bakehouse

What food partners does the Zero Community Fridge have?

Zero Community Fridge is a member of the Community Fridge Network, a network of over 250 Community Fridges. It has received generous funding from the Co-op Community Fridge scheme and we are proud to join the fridge family! The ZERO Fridge also received a kind donation from Waitrose towards the purchase of a fridge. We have joined the food partner schemes, Fareshare and Neighbourly.

How do I volunteer at the Community Fridge?

To keep the Fridge operating, we will need volunteers to:

  1. Collect surplus food from supermarkets and drop it at ZERO.

  2. Spend an hour logging the food received and cleaning the fridge

  3. Help with social media and publicity


If you can donate your time, please sign up as a ZERO volunteer. Please sign up under the “Community Fridge Volunteer” role and our Volunteer Coordinator will be in touch.


Where do I go if I am in need of food urgently?

** If you are struggling to feed yourself or your family it’s your right to take advantage of financial support. Have a look at the financial relief options available via your local authority. If you live in Surrey click here.

Benefits Of A Community Fridge

Supermarkets in the UK throw away the equivalent of 190 million meals every year. Worse still, less than 10% of this wasted food is donated to people in need.

Unbelievably, if you were to count global food waste as a country, it would be the third largest emitter behind the US and China! A horrifying  8 - 10% of man made greenhouse gas emissions come from the largely avoidable problem of food waste. Around 30% of food is wasted between the production and sale stage, and a large part of this problem is the aesthetic standards implemented by supermarkets which make an assumption that ‘consumers’ (a term used to make it easier for our destructive economic model to ignore the catastrophic impact of ‘infinite growth’ on our planet) won’t want slightly deformed or less attractive looking fruit & veg.

So reducing food waste can have a massive impact on global emissions, and community fridges can play a part in this. But it’s crucial that at the same time shops start addressing their own responsibility toward climate mitigation and adaptation. Using ideology to define economics (which is more philosophy than anything resembling science) has led us to the point of planetary collapse, and we need to begin implementing fact-based policy that ensures we collectively reduce waste, with government, local authority, supermarkets, hospitality, and households all taking responsibility for addressing this avoidable problem.


Aside from the waste issue, community fridges can have a positive social impact. Despite being one of the wealthiest towns in the UK, Guildford has 2 areas ranked in the highest decile of food poverty, and 2 more areas in the 4th decile. The UK’s failure to tackle inequality over the last few decades means 4.3 million children in Britain live below the poverty line. 

So whilst it’s not a food bank, a community fridge can help alleviate hunger; particularly for kids leaving school and returning to empty cupboards at home. But community fridges are for use by everyone, and can form part of Guildford’s waste reduction strategy as we strive to hit carbon neutrality by 2030.

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