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Getting by sans fridge

Andrea Peloso unplugged her fridge two years ago, turning it into a storage cupboard instead.

Andrea Peloso unplugged her fridge two years ago, turning it into a storage cupboard instead.

The 31-year-old Toronto college professor, yoga teacher and committed environmentalist has always done her best to take care of Mother Earth.

“I have never bought a car, I bike and use transit. I teach 22 yoga classes all over the city and can use public transit five times a day. I don’t have a television. I live in a small apartment.”

One day, she looked around her and thought, “What about the refrigerator?”

She’s not the only one.

Around the world, environmentalists are asking the question: Do I really need a honking big refrigerator eating up energy and increasing my carbon footprint?

Ditching the fridge has become the latest badge of honour for those who think green.

Just Google “living without a refrigerator” to see dozens of websites and blogs detailing people’s adventures, including a sailor who lives on his boat and eats food from tins, and a “greenpa” who claims to live in a cabin in the forest and who has been without a fridge for 30 years.

One young woman posted a picture of herself in front of her open, unused fridge — she was afraid to call the landlord to repair it because she had an illegal cat in her apartment. She survived a year without a fridge by keeping her pop on the windowsill, only buying food for one day — and eating out a lot.

One blogger details his fruitless search for a cheese that can withstand the heat. Others fess up: They became vegetarians in order to overcome the difficulty of keeping meat and dairy items safe to eat.

As anyone who has undergone a kitchen renovation can attest, you can operate a household a long time with only a camping cooler and bags of ice.

Although Peloso has turned her fridge into cupboards for her pickled and canned goods, she does use ice (and sometimes snow) in the freezer part of her fridge, which is where she puts beer for her guests and where she also keeps foods that need to be kept cold.

For Peloso, this is actually her second stab at living without a fridge. The first time was when she lived in Paris 10 years ago as a university student studying philosophy.

“We had one fridge for 300 people and no one wanted to put their food in it because other people would eat it. In Paris, the markets were everywhere; we’d buy meat and cheese every day. We’d put things in the window to stay cool.”

 
 
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