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The equivalent of 2.3 million ūüöó

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Zero Waste London Mail

February 17 · Issue #4 · View online

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Hello!
It’s been a long time since the latest issue. Fighting against Brent council taking down healthy trees for no good reason has kept me fairly busy for the last couple of months. I also created a group in my neighbourhood called Harlesden Climate Action. There’s so much that needs doing in this climate emergency…
Back onto waste reduction. Last month, an official report published by WRAP showed that food waste in the UK has gone ‚¨áÔłŹ by 14% between 2007 and 2018 . By weight, households are responsible for 70% of this waste.
Despite the very welcomed decrease, the carbon foot print of this wasted food is equivalent to the emissions of 2.3 million ūüöó. Financially, the price is also very dear: ¬£60 per month for the average family with children.
I mention this because I know that it’s very easy to be overwhelmed by the crisis we’re in. It’s important to focus on what we can achieve in our own houses, work places & social environment and remember that actions have more impact than words. Limiting all kind of waste is a very good start.
On the subject of food waste, there was a very interesting and bizarre story in The Observer last month that I highly recommend you reading - after this newsletter. ; )

The Interview ūüď£
Sebastian Wood is one the volunteers behind the People’s Fridge in Brixton.
For how long has the People’s Fridge been up and running?
It’s been going for almost 3 years.
How much food has it saved? 
We do not have accurate data on this that has been processed. What I can say is we regularly have more than 30 sandwiches, about 20 salad boxes 15 yoghurt pots every Saturday and 3 shopping bags of bread every Thursday.
Can anyone donate and take food?
Yes, general people can donate packaged unoped food still with in its expiry date, fruits and vegetables. Registered food traders can give prepared food that is still edible for the next 48 hours, labeled with ingredients and allergies.
Do you have any idea of the profile of the people who help themselves to the food?
We regularly have people in food poverty in the mornings, while people later in the day tend to be general public if there is food left.
The fridge is not open all the time. Why?
By closing the fridge in the evening it means people don’t tamper with the fridge, especially when they have been drinking or are rowdy. We encourage people to take the food throughout the day.
The fridge is run by a volunteer team of 7 people. It clearly involves a lot of work, doesn’t it?
It does. We meet once a week on a Monday evening, sometimes every other week. Throughout the week, we pick up food from high street companies 3 times, some in the morning, some in the evening.
Apart from saving food from going to waste - which is a big thing already!- has the People’s fridge has had any other positive impact?
It has raised awareness about food waste, especially local food waste. It also has showed people what a group of local residents can do about a big local and more widespread problem. Since launching in London we have had people say to us that they are setting up something similar in their locality.
‚ÄúThe¬†real key is trying to make places who produce food waste reduce it.¬†‚ÄĚ
What’s the best piece advice you can give to someone who would like to start a shared fridge?
The main thing to do is listen to the needs of your locality. Find out what type of food waste is the best to address and the best way to impact it with the resources you have or can eventually get.  The real key is trying to make places who produce food waste reduce it.  
The next goal is to get them to physically bring the food waste to a community fridge or other means of reducing food waste. Last option should be you physically picking up the food, as you can only pick up so much.  The key is to make people and companies change their own behaviour and deal with their own production and management of food waste they produce.
49 Brixton Station Rd
(At the back of Pop up Brixton)
ūüĒÜ Bonus information : there is a community fridge in West Hampstead, in North West London, inside the Sheriff centre.
The News ūüĒĒ
In Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Islington and Waltham Forest, the North London Waste Authority is encouraging local businesses to sign up to their Charter of Commitment in an effort to cut reliance on single-use plastics.
The charter asks them to ask customers before offering them plastic bags, to supply free water refills and to encourage customers to bring their own cups - among others. All very sensible ideas that can be easily implemented by high street businesses!
In a trial in the Cowcross Street district of Islington, near Farringdon tube station, more than 75% of businesses were able to reduce the amount of single-use plastic supplied to customers and all went on to receive ‚ÄėLow Plastic Zone‚Äô status. ūüėÄ
The initiative was devised off the back of a North London Waste Authority-commissioned Censuswide poll which found 95% of respondents want local businesses to cut down their reliance single-use plastic.
Can this initiative be extended across all London, please? Maybe we should all write to our respective waste authority to ask for it! There are another 3 in London (West London Waste Authority, South London Waste Partnership, East London Waste Authority).
The Events ūüôĆ
  • After a trial last autumn, Camden Think and Do caf√© has reopened for 10 weeks. Think & Do is a community space which aims to give people in Camden and beyond the chance to come together to develop ideas and projects to help tackle the climate and ecological crisis. I can‚Äôt wait to visit this community hub.
  • Across North London, ¬†Wise Up To Waste¬†is delivering a series of¬†#free¬†Swish and Style events until the end of March. The idea is very simple : you bring items you no longer wear and swap them for clothes that are new to you. You can also take part in workshops covering¬†#upcycling¬†and¬†#mending¬†skills, such as Japanese boro and decorative darning.So
  • In Southwark, on Sunday 23rd February, The Goodlife centre is holding one of their regular Restart and Repair party. Find all the details here.
The Jobs ūüí™
Oddbox is a veg box company that buys vegetables and fruit that didn’t meet the supermarket standards from UK growers. It was set up in 2016 by husband and wife Deepak Ravindran and Emilie Vanpoperinghe. The company is growing and is currently recruiting for 4 different positions in London.
You can watch Oddbox promotional video here. It actually features The People‚Äôs Fridge in Brixton mentioned above. The company gives 10% of the produce rescued to charities. ūüĎć
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