In the town of Galdakao in Spain, there's a fridge that sits on the sidewalk, surrounded by an accessible fence. Anyone can take food from the fridge, where residents who have leftovers or unfinished meals can deposit them for anyone who wants them. It's quite a simple process, but it's a significant step to ending hunger, and food waste, in the area.
They call it the "Solidarity Fridge."
"The idea for a Solidarity Fridge started with the economic crisis — these images of people searching dumpsters for food — the indignity of it. That's what got me thinking about how much food we waste," he told NPR.
When Saiz brought the idea to the Mayor Ibon Uribe, he thought it was both "crazy and brilliant," so he gave him the benefit of the doubt. They approved a budget of about 5,000 Euros (or $5,580) to pay for not only the fridge but upkeep, the electricity to keep it running and legal protection should someone get sick, he told NPR. It officially "opened" for business in April.
With the exception of raw meat or eggs, individuals as well as restaurants can drop of any kind of donated food as long as it's labeled and can not stay for longer than four days.
But it usually doesn't last that long.
While it does feed those who are hungry, Saiz stressed to The Guardian that the initiative is more about not wasting food, period.
"This isn't charity. It's about making use of food that would otherwise end up in the bin," he said. "It doesn't matter who takes it — Julio Iglesias could stop by and take the food — at the end of the day it's about recovering the value of food products and fighting against waste," he said.
In the U.S., 40 percent of food goes to waste. With one-third of perfectly good food lost or wasted worldwide, the Spanish could be onto something.
People around the world are calling on their countries to adopt the same idea.
Indeed it is.