What can be done about the 7 million tons of food and drink thrown away in the UK each year, costing the average household the equivalent of more than $700 annually? With the support of Sealed Air, a group of secondary school students, at the Alfreton Grange Arts College in the UK, worked to solve this challenge. A new initiative called the Fresher for Longer education program is working to mentor and enable secondary school students to measurably reduce unnecessary waste and protect the environment, all while saving money.
Students in the program are first educated on how packaging protects food from farm to fork and how it helps keep food fresher for longer at home. Through workshops, interactive learning activities and ongoing support, the 13-year-old students are creating their own behavior change campaigns to get their community sourcing, storing and cooking food while sustainably managing leftovers.
To provide real life experience during the project, the students visited Greencore Prepared Meals in Sheffield, a Sealed Air customer. The students took a tour of the quiche manufacturing area to see first-hand how Greencore manages their raw materials to minimize food waste.
The Fresher for Longer partnership was initiated by the Packaging Federation, the Industry Council for research on Packaging and the Environment (INCPEN), the Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP), Kent Resource Partnership and the Food and Drink Federation, to highlight the role that packaging can play in reducing food waste.
Student teams have been designing and implementing creative, fun and impactful campaigns that include:
- ‘PP FOOD TIPS’: An app that helps consumers learn to store food to keep it fresher for longer
- ‘PORTION CAUTION’: Measuring tools and packaging with portioning to help consumers only cook and eat the correct portions
- ‘FOOD WASTE FRENZY’: A website to educate consumers on reusing leftovers to cut food waste
- ‘REUSABLE PACKAGING DESIGN’: Students designed reusable meat packaging
The students from Alfreton Grange Arts College were named the overall program winners based on their submission of ideas to reduce food waste and their presentation to the judging panel.