A group of community waste champions has installed a new Community Fridge offering free food, located in the Griffith Gardens, Auckland CBD. Both businesses and individuals can leave their excess food for anyone to take.

“Take what you need, leave what you don’t,”—that is the motto of the initiative. Funded by Auckland Council, the project is a brainchild of zero waste blogger Amanda Chapman, who had first heard of solidarity fridges through a friend living in Germany. The community fridge movement was launched in Spain in 2015, and similar projects have followed suit in England, Belgium, Argentina and the United Arab Emirates.

Cafés and restaurants can make a difference by donating their unsold sandwiches and baked items, and people are allowed to take whatever they need, 24 hours a day, with no conditions.

According to the initiative’s online page, “a trained food health and safety professional has created the donation guidelines and training materials for the volunteers who look after the fridge.” People can donate mould-free fruit and vegetables, unopened tinned and dried goods, and sandwiches, biscuits and baked good that are less than two days old and labelled with the date and time they were made. Registered kitchens that want to donate cooked food need to have a current food safety certificate.

Among the products that won't be accepted are raw fish, meat, eggs and milk, as well as food that has been recalled by the manufacturer and, of course, unsealed or half-eaten food.