Project SAVE4WASTE, funded under the Erasmus+ programme

Project name: SAVE4WASTE

Programme: ERASMUS+

Duration: 24 months

Start date: 01.01.2022

Agreement No.: 2021-1-BG01-KA220-SCH-000032763

Project Applicant Partner: Association “Centre for Sustainability and Economic Growth”, Pazardzhik, Bulgaria

 

Food waste is a recognized problem that has gained political, economic, and social importance in recent years. Numerous high-level political statements formulated in the last decade express the need to combat food waste. It is generated all along the food supply chain at the stages of production, processing, retailing and consumption. Food waste can be defined in many ways and there is no unique methodology for measuring it. Nevertheless, it is generally recognized that, at global level, around one third of the food produced for human consumption is wasted or lost. Food loss is defined as the decrease in quantity or quality of food. Food waste is part of food loss and refers to discarding or alternative (non-food) use of food that is safe and nutritious for human consumption along the entire food supply chain, from primary production to end household consumer level. FAO defines food waste as food which was originally produced for human consumption but was not consumed by humans, instead it was directed into a non-food use (for humans), feed for animals or waste disposal (FAO, 2014).

Most of the systemic challenges of eliminating food waste stem from certain mind-sets and approaches that in turn come from the loss of our value for food. For many people, it is so accessible that we hardly think about it. Would it not be better to start changing mind-sets with our youngest and their schools? Schools are uniquely positioned to help change the culture around food waste management and they can be the drivers for a more thrifty, efficient, and resourceful use of food. Today’s students are tomorrow’s food decision makers. Consequently, students as the generation of the future are the most important people to reach when addressing change in behaviour that affects our resources like solid, water, nutrients wasted along with food. It is considered as vital to take pilot actions in high schools.

S4W project focuses on piloting actions upon food waste prevention, management and reduction, and aims at fostering students’ ability to think critically and to adopt a proactive attitude by:

– Raising students’ awareness of the problem of food waste -increasing their knowledge about reasons for and impacts of food wastage.

– Pointing them towards specific options for actions that are within their sphere of influence by teaching them new skills related to evaluation of food quality and understanding proper food storage, food preservation options, and so on.

S4W project aims to promote awareness regarding the economic, social, and environmental consequences of food waste, highlighting actions and habits that people can take to reduce their own food waste. The project is going to develop a curriculum and piloting actions which will enable teachers to select those activities that best match the needs, abilities and interests of their students while also conforming to time and resource constraints. Educate and engage the school community, communicate and celebrate food waste management good practices are more important than ever. The pedagogical advantages of initiatives focusing on recycling and composting are multitude. In particular, students can learn by practicing, interacting and expressing their creativity, being aware that the topic of waste is also relevant to their life and the environment outside their schools. What students learn at school has an enormous potential to be immediately applied. S4W project will be based on composting method as it is an easy-to-perform, natural process that transforms organic waste into compost, a valuable and nutrient-rich natural fertilizer to be applied on a school’s garden, and also on 9 circular economy ‘R’ strategies or principles, referred to the 9 R’s, as it has been proposed by EU. Finally, the project anticipates encouraging students to implement mini projects led by them in cooperation with their teachers to find ways to prevent and reduce food waste in their classrooms.