Communities in Switzerland and other parts of Europe are trying to cut down on food waste in an effort to protect the environment. The Geneva based nonprofit organisation Free-Go has provided free-access, public refrigerators on the sides of some streets in the Swiss city, where restaurateurs and the public can deposit free food for others to take, in order for it not to go off.
The program is supported by charity groups and the city government and costs about $40,000 in annual running costs. The program has been operating for a year now and started with one fridge in western Geneva and expanded to four, with another one being planned to open by end of the year. The food that is deposited is taken very quickly afterwards. No frozen foods, open food containers, prepared meals or alcohol are allowed in the fridges for health and regulatory reasons.
In order to make it easier for residents to participate in the program, Free-Go is also trying scheduled pickups at apartment buildings. A “hotline” for restaurateurs is also available for the convenient retrieval of unused food. The participants also have to ensure the donated food is safe to eat, according to Swiss law.
The project's director, Marine Delevaux said last year the first Geneva fridge helped save 3.2 tons of food waste. Nearly one-third of all consumable food products in Switzerland ends up being thrown out, which calculates annually to around 330 kilograms of food waste per inhabitant. Similar food-sharing campaigns take place in the Swiss capital, Bern as well as in western Neuchatel.
Photo: (c) (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP