Food waste

in Australia this year

$

Food wastage

in Australia today

$

Food-related carbon emissions

in Australia this year

tonnes

Food-related carbon emissions

in Australia today

tonnes

How to make your school green

There are many small tasks and activities that can be undertaken to help turn your school green and environmentally friendly. These range from recycling to composting and energy conservation.

Recycling

Every recycled soft drink bottle saves enough energy to run a television for an hour and a half 2

We are constantly bombarded with ideas about how to reduce our carbon footprint. Recycling remains one of the easiest and simplest ways to do this.

Did you know?

  • Plastic bottles and aluminium cans can take hundreds of years to decompose, while glass takes around one million years to decompose in landfill(1)
  • Making aluminium from recycled aluminium cans takes 95% less energy than using raw materials (2)
  • Every recycled soft drink bottle saves enough energy to run a television for an hour and a half (2)

Making aluminium from recycled aluminium cans takes 95% less energy than using raw materials

One of the major threats to the environment is the amount of waste going to landfill. This is why it is SO important to reuse and recycle, and it’s easy too!

Many schools and tuckshops are currently recycling paper and cardboard, but may not have a bin for plastics, glass and cans. If your school doesn’t have a recycling bin, ask your Principal to apply for one. Most councils supply them to schools for free.

If you can’t get a recycling bin, you can still help the environment by reusing containers where possible. The tuckshop convenor at Ithaca Creek State School, Tracy Andrews passes on their containers, egg cartons, boxes etc. to teachers in the school for use during arts and craft. This is a great example of reusing.

Food Miles

DID YOU KNOW that a basket of popular items from the supermarket has travelled up to 70,000km before it gets to your plate?

Did you know?

  • A basket of popular items from the supermarket has travelled up to 70,000km before it gets to your plate? That’s three times around Australia’s coastline! (3)

‘Food miles’ describes the distance that food has travelled from the paddock to the plate. It provides an indication of the environmental impact of the food we eat by considering the environmental cost of the transport. You can read more about food miles here.

Schools that think about food miles when designing their tuckshop menu, or catering for a school function can really make a difference to their carbon footprint. Visit our tuckshop page for resources specifically designed to green your tuckshop.

As a general rule, to reduce  food miles in your school, try to make foods from fresh ingredients. For packaged foods, choose those that have been grown, produced and manufactured locally or at least in Australia.Use fruit, vegetables or even fresh herbs grown in your school garden.

Buying produce in season means that the food will not travel as far to your school, and it will be of higher quality as it has not been in storage for months. Click here to find out what's in season and when in south-east Queensland.

Local farmers markets can be a great place to get local, seasonal foods. You could also use fruit, vegetables or even fresh herbs grown in your own school garden (if you have one).

The staff at Burdekin Christian College tuckshop use produce from their school’s vegetable gardens in their preparation of foods in the tuckshop - from herbs to tomatoes! This is a great example of produce going from the 'patch to the plate' and reducing food miles. They also source the majority of their foods from local suppliers.

Waste

Did you know that composting or recycling food and garden waste can reduce an individual’s waste by 50%

Did you know?

  • Australia is the second highest producer of waste per capita after the United States, sending 18 million tonnes to landfill per annum. This is equivalent to one tonne for every person.(4)
  • Composting or recycling food and garden waste can reduce an individual’s waste by 50%, which can mean a reduction in landfill of around 560 kg each year per person(5)


A school tuckshop you can make an even bigger difference, by composting and recycling on behalf of many students at the school and reducing the carbon footprint of everyone involved!

Composting and worm farms are a natural way to generate nutrient-rich natural fertiliser. Composting and worm farms are a natural way to generate nutrient-rich natural fertiliser. Instead of increasing landfill deposits and greenhouse gases, this waste is recycled into ‘plant food’. Tracy Andrews, convenor at Ithaca Creek State School says; “I find it really easy to take care of the worm bin and feed them the tuckshop food scraps”.

Some ideas to reduce waste in your school:

  • Reduce packaging going to landfill by choosing items where the packaging can be recycled e.g. paper, cardboard or cornstarch based containers instead of plastic ones.
  • Don’t purchase more than you need.
  • Print tuckshop or school event menus on recycled or scrap paper or put it online and email it to parents. Use a specials whiteboard to prevent having to print specials each day in the tuckshop.
  • Buy in bulk if your school has the facilities to store food.
  • Use a big sauce bottle at events or the tuckshop instead of individually portioned packages.
  • Send food scraps to compost, worm farm or even chooks. Some schools already have these or you can give them to a local community garden or a family in the school community.
  • Reuse leftovers in the tuckshop. E.g. include leftover tomatoes and vegetables to make pasta sauce, other leftovers as potential pizza toppings.

Reducing power and water use

Turn electrical appliances off

We are constantly hearing about saving water by having four minute showers, and conserving energy by turning off lights at home. But what does this mean for your school?

You can make a difference to your school’s food related carbon footprint by reducing power and waste, and here’s how:

  • Turn electrical appliances off; e.g. ovens when not in use, lights, fridges and freezers over the school holidays. It is important to turn these off at the power source. Make sure seals on fridges are regularly checked and replaced if not in good condition.
  • Reduce water use by turning off taps, fixing dripping taps, installing energy efficient appliances.
  • Rinse vegetables in a half filled sink rather than under running water.
  • Use cross ventilation if windows have screens, to avoid appliances such as fridges over working or over heating.
  • Check energy ratings for any new appliances – go for 6 stars!!
  • Try to streamline your workflow in the tuckshop: could you time it so that a product can go straight from the oven into a bag rather than a mid-way stop in a pie warmer?

Rinse  vegetables in a half filled sink rather than under running water.Pittsworth State High School is installing large windows in their tuckshop which reduces the need for air conditioning. This will make sure that the room stays cool while the ovens are heated up.


 

 

 

References:

  1. Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment. Waste and Recycling: Litter [internet]. 2010 [cited 2010 July 8]. Available from: www.environment.tas.gov.au/index.aspx?base=2435
  2. Local government and Shires association of NSW. Quick facts and figures [internet]. 2010 [cited 2010 July 23]. Available from: http://www.lgsa-plus.net.au/www/html/993-quick-facts.asp
  3. Junior Landcare. 7 Days in 7 Ways [internet]. 2009 [cited 2010 July 8]. Available from: http://www.juniorlandcare.com/_literature_42617/7_WAYS_IN_7_DAYS_BOOKLET
  4. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, Australian government. Time to act: Everyday tips to help protect the environment. [internet]. 2009 [cited 2010 July 8]. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/education/publications/act/pubs/act.pdf
  5. Environment and Resource Management, Queensland Government. Waste management. [internet] 2010. [cited 2010 Jul 23]. Available from: http://www.derm.qld.gov.au/environmental_management/waste/waste_minimisation/reduce_reuse_recycle.html
Made by QMG