A new scheme aimed at reducing the amount of food waste in Halstead has been launched.

The community fridge is now up and running from within the Lodge Gate building in Causeway.

Set up by the Halstead Community Fridge Trust, the scheme offers the public a chance to leave any unwanted food in a fridge. The fridge is open to everyone and all food inside can be collected for free.

Mill owner John de Bruyne cut the ribbon to mark the opening of the fridge on Monday.

Mr de Bruyne is leasing the Lodge Gate building to the community fridge trust for free and will also cover day to day running costs of the scheme.

Trustee Sandra Dingle said: “We are trying to get through to people that it is all about waste.

“I want to obliterate food waste and like our strapline says, ‘share it, don’t waste it’.

“This is important because everyone wastes so much food these days. I also want to make it clear it’s not only for the supermarket and restaurants, but also for people going away or with food they don’t want.”

Town supermarkets such as Sainsbury’s, Lidl and the Co-op store in Weavers Court have all agreed to donate food to the fridge, as have Saddlers Tea Room and St Margaret’s Prep school in Gosfield. Several allotment owners have also expressed an interest in donating unwanted produce.

The Co-op, Leading Edge Graphics and Steve's Hardware have all contributed to getting the scheme up and running.

An estimated 10 volunteers will help to maintain hygiene within the fridge, and ensure all food is appropriate and in date.

The fridge will be open from 8am until 7pm each day. Most food is welcomed, however uncooked meat and fish is excluded from the scheme.

Trustee Shirley Diver says she wants the to see the whole town get involved and use the fridge.

She said: “Everyone is very concerned about how much food we are wasting. This is for people of all ages and all backgrounds. It’s for the person coming home from work who wants a quick sandwich or the kid coming home from school after a snack.”

Fellow trustee Sarah Greatorex added: “People should be proud to use the fridge because it means they aren’t wasting food.”