Down with waste in schools!

Down with waste in schools!

As part of the Interreg IVB GreenCook project, Bruxelles-Environnement launched a pilot experience in schools which looked to develop and evaluate strategies and tools aimed at reducing food waste. The experience was enthusiastically taken up in five Brussels schools between October 2010 and December 2011. To sum up: concrete and targeted actions in which teachers and students got heavily involved to very encouraging effect!

Long term aims

The aims of the project were to:

• reach a better understanding of food waste in educational establishments by identifying the why, when, where and the behaviour that leads to waste;

• raise awareness among the various parties concerned, including students and teachers;

• take practical steps and institute organisational changes to prevent food waste;

• develop effective prevention tools that can then be adopted by other schools.

An effective method

A rigorous method was put in place to guarantee the success of the project and ensure its durability. After the signing of a charter of commitment and the creation of a steering committee to oversee and evaluate the project, taking in an assessment of the existing situation and the implementation of concrete actions for improving it, all the stages were meticulously followed by the pilot schools. The result? An increase in awareness of the subject among a significant proportion of teachers and students and a positive change in their behaviour in relation to food waste.

Committed and enthusiastic schools

Five schools actively participated in this experience:

• The Athénée Royal Jean Absyl in Etterbeek (find out more);

• The Notre-Dame des Champs secondary education centre in Uccle (find out more);

• The Homborch primary school in Uccle (find out more);

• The Institut Sainte-Marie in Schaerbeek (find out more);

• The Parc Schuman district school in Woluwe-Saint-Lambert. This last school, its students and the steering committee put in place various actions aimed at reducing food waste and making the school’s food provision more sustainable. In the “poster campaign”, the students created various posters that were then displayed inside and outside the school (see photos).

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©Van Grambezen-Meire M.

Actions called “healthy snacks” and “flasks and sandwich boxes” were also launched to reduce multiple packaging, to favour sugar-free snacks and eliminate all soft drinks except water. The “compost and vegetable garden” action encouraged students to throw inedible organic waste (peel, skin, cores, stalks…) into the school compost, which was then used to fertilise the vegetable garden set up in the playground.

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©Van Grambezen-Meire M.

A Belgian school is a prize-winner during the European Week for Waste Reduction - EWWR!

At the official EWWR 2011 prize-giving ceremony, the Institut Sainte-Marie in Schaerbeek was nominated for its project, “A smiley in my sandwich box”. And with this the Brussels school won second place in the “Educational Establishment” category.

The aim of the project called “A smiley in my sandwich box”: to combat food waste from packed lunches at school. How? By encouraging children and their parents to reduce food waste using various smileys and little remarks slipped into sandwich boxes at the end of lunch. View a video of this project.

© Greencook 2011 ## concept & hosting Pragmacom Main&Design