FAMILIES and businesses in Halstead will be encouraged to reduce food waste as plans for a new community project begin.

The community fridge scheme will see food donated by businesses and residents, helping to redistribute leftovers.

Unlike foodbanks, the project is not targeted at those in need, but rather aims to reduce the amount of food wasted, with the fridge free to be used by anyone.

People can take as much food as they like and visit the fridge as often as they like.

Town councillor Sandra Dingle initially pitched the idea in March, and has received the backing of the council after she joined the town clerk, Sarah Greatorex, on a visit to an up-andrunning community fridge.

The pair attended a briefing in Oxford organised by Botley community fridge manager and Hubbub, an environmental charity.

Mrs Dingle said: “We were really impressed.

“Sarah and I were quite astounded by how into it these people are, they are really passionate and we would like our residents to match that.

“It is all about reducing waste, this is not for those in need, although they can use it, they are for anybody with the aim of reducing wasted food.

“We are trying to make a positive change. I have been looking for a project during my time as councillor, and I think this is it.”

The fridge would be placed in the Sainsbury’s car park, off of High Street.

The supermarket is already on board with the scheme, and both Lidl and the town’s Co-op stores will be offered the chance to take part.

The average UK family wastes £470 a year by throwing away food and drink which could have been consumed.

Most of the food wasted in the UK, 4.1 million tons or 61 per cent, is avoidable and could be eaten if creative ways of sharing it are found.

The plans were discussed at Monday night’s Halstead Town Council meeting, where it was agreed to continue to pursue community fridge options.

Concerns were raised over the logistics of the plan, as well as concerns over vandalism and abuse of the scheme.

But ultimately it was decided that the community fridge could be a huge advantage to the town, and should be pursued further. The plans will be reliant on community involvement with volunteers needed.