Quick Tips: How to Help Reduce Food Waste in Your School

Reducing waste is not only beneficial for the planet but it can also help to save money for schools.

An estimated 80,382 tonnes of food waste is produced by schools in England per (40 week) school year. Of this waste, 63,099 tonnes are avoidable. The environmental impact (accrued through production and agriculture, processing, transportation, storage, and disposal) of this avoidable food waste in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, is 253,000 tonnes per year. This is comparable to the carbon produced by more than 80,000 cars in a year (School Food Waste, WRAP 2010).

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Raise Awareness

By raising awareness of the impact food waste is having on the environment and your school itself, can help students to understand the importance of helping to reduce waste and be more considerate of this when it comes to lunchtime. A great way to show the students how much waste your school is producing on an average week is to do a waste audit, not only can this raise awareness but it can also help you identify areas that need tackling first, which may not always be linked to food waste. There’s a really helpful guide on carrying out a waste audit with students here, from Wigan Council.  

Food choices

This can be quite a challenge when you are catering for a large number of pupils with varying preferences. By monitoring what your pupils are eating, will help you to provide menu choices that you know students prefer and are less likely to leave on the plate.  David Leake at Didcot Girls’ school has cut food waste by up to 75% over two years using this method, he keeps a close eye on what sells and what doesn't, to make sure he is serving food the children want such as cottage pie and uses the previous week's sales as a guide to how much to order. (The Guardian).

Meal Ordering

A lot of food waste comes as a result of a kitchen having to cater for an unknown number of pupils, who all have different food preferences. As a result, enough food must be prepared for everyone who could possibly require a school meal which leads to over-catering, creating lots of waste.

By allowing pre-ordering of meals, you can ensure the kitchen knows how much food needs to be prepared and the preferences of the children who are having a School Dinner. The SCOPAY app combined with the Tucasi Dinner Money Module allows parents to order and pay for their children’s lunches directly from their mobile, in advance. Schools can upload menus and images for parents to choose from. The Classroom Module, allows pupils to make their meal choice on the day. 

The Quick Tips from Tucasi have been designed to bring you bite-sized chunks of useful information to read with your coffee (or, whatever drink happens to be in your hand). If you have any ideas you would like to contribute to our quick tips, or if you would like to be featured on the blog get in touch with us.

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