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Tackling Food Waste as Students

Updated: Jun 15, 2018

One of the biggest challenges our generation faces is that of creating a sustainable lifestyle for ourselves, and for future generations. This challenge can often feel overwhelming and out of our control. Fortunately, there are steps all of us can take to lead a more sustainable lifestyle and one of the easiest is to actively reduce and manage our food waste. The city of Edinburgh provides many food waste facilities and outlets, as well as organisations that promote food sharing and waste reduction. Despite this, there have not been many initiatives that actively engage students. This is why the Buchanan Institute food waste research group has been working to provide University of Edinburgh students with the resources and the knowledge to sustainably manage food waste.

On the 15th of February we held a free food waste bin giveaway as part Sustain.ed. This was a student led food sustainability festival which included a farmer’s market with locally grown plant-based produce, as well as many other educational and interactive events. Our food waste stall was set up near the entrance of Potterrow Dome next to the farmer’s market and thanks to the Shrub and Changeworks we were able to obtain around 40 bins to give away. Our stall also included posters on how to freeze and store every kind of food and many other freebies such as leaflets, recipe booklets, free bag clips and free spaghetti measurers.

At our event, we also wanted to demonstrate how to reduce food waste by showing what could be done with left-over food. To do this, we gave out free vegan smoothies that we made out of spare fruit from Edinburgh Community Food. Dozens of donated bananas were blended with frozen fruit and almond milk to create delicious smoothies which were handed out to anyone who came to the stall. Although smoothies are very easy to make, we still had difficulty using one of the blenders which resulted in slight mishap with the smoothie splashing all over our stall. Despite the mess, the smoothies were very popular and attracted many people to our stall.

Over the course of the day we were able to give out around 20 food waste bins and gave out guides on how to use the bins. Although a EUSA photographer also experimented with using a bin as a fashionable hat which we think worked well too. Overall, we were very pleased with our giveaway, and we hope to host more sustainability events in the future.

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