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Making good food accessible to all

Surplus food waste is a significant environmental and social issue. With food prices rising and the cost of living crisis continuing to escalate, taking action to address the broken food system, both locally and globally, has never been more important.


The problem? Edible food that is fit for human consumption is not reaching our tables.  Instead, it is being left to spoil or thrown away by retailers and consumers. In the UK, over 10 million tonnes of good food is thrown away every year. At the same time, millions of people are struggling to afford to eat. 

We are working with local people and partners to reduce the amount of good food going to waste in Merton and redistribute this food to the community. We aim to influence change to tackle food insecurity and want to see increased nutritional health and wellbeing for the most food-insecure residents through greater choices and improved access to fresh, nutritious, good quality food.



Community fridge

Community Fridge Network
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Sustainable Merton has teamed up with Commonside Community Development Trust, Polish Family Association, Merton Community Transport and Clarion Housing to form Merton’s Community Fridge Network. Together, we have created a network of community fridges where fresh surplus food is donated and redistributed to the community, helping people and the planet.


Our community fridges are inclusive, social food hubs providing workshops, food demonstrations and information on nutritious food for all cultures so that everyone can access good food, save money and reduce waste.

This partnership builds on the fantastic work that has already been done to address the Covid-19 food crisis. From April to August 2020, surplus food was supplied free of charge by the London Food Alliance and Fareshare and delivered to a central food distribution hub, established by Merton Council and Merton College. Since that time, the distribution of food coming into the borough from Fareshare is now being managed by Merton Community Transport.

Find your nearest Community Fridge

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Clarion's Community Fridge



Commonside Community Development Trust



Merton's Community Fridge (Sustainable Merton)





Polish Family Association




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How does it work with other food initiatives?

Merton's Community Fridge Network complements the work of existing food banks in the borough, benefiting those most in need but also extending the offering to the wider community. It is a desired outcome of the work led by Sustainable Merton on Merton’s Food Poverty Action Plan which seeks to achieve a strong, coordinated and strategic partnership approach to tackle people’s inability to afford, or have access to, quality food for a healthy diet.

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Food Response Network

Merton's Food Response Network

This year Sustainable Merton is also coordinating Merton’s Food Poverty Response Network on behalf of Merton Council, working with 15 other local charitable organisations and faith groups. The network’s aim is to take a collaborative approach to address food insecurity in the borough, bringing together the combined skills and resources of lunch clubs, foodbanks, community fridges and transport services, identifying geographical areas of need and proactively finding solutions.

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One pilot project born from this network is the collaboration between Merton’s Community Fridge and Clarion Housing.


An over 55s Clarion Housing scheme in the borough was identified as having residents in need and who are socially isolated. This will be the home of their first ‘Satellite Community Fridge’, empowering residents in running the Fridge whilst providing the support, training and provisions required.


Upon success the plan is to roll the model out into other areas within the borough, building communities through interaction, saving food waste and fighting food insecurity in one.

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of the 10 million tonnes of food wasted in the UK each year could be avoided.

= £17 billion 

of wasted money

every year

20 million


of associated greenhouse gas emissions

Food waste is a huge problem for our environment. 

Producing, processing and transporting food which is ultimately being wasted requires huge amounts of fresh water, land and other resources.

When avoidable, or unavoidable, food waste goes to landfill, it decomposes, creating methane - a greenhouse gas 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide, contributing to global warming.

If the 7.3 million tonnes of food thrown away from homes in the UK each year were prevented, the environmental benefit would equate to taking

1 in 4 cars off the road.


Fruit, Food



Sustainable Merton has created a list of resources to provide information relating to key issues around food for health and well being, and organisations working within this area.


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