Teachers tackling food waste

In a nutshell

This tool helps teachers and school managers involve children in implementing food waste reduction solutions, influencing eating habits and instilling attitudes of respect toward food.

Necessary Steps


  • Explain to students that they can be part of the solution to the food waste problem through changing their eating habits in schools and at home.
  • Remind students not to take more than they can eat.
  • Integrate food into your teaching subject, e.g. biology, geography, math, social studies, cooking classes, gardening, etc.
  • Organise hands-on activities to introduce the school kitchen staff and their work, e.g. cooking together.
  • Invite guest speakers (e.g., chefs or food bank organisers) to talk about food.
  • Suggest food waste-related topics for research projects and other assignments.
  • Explain the meaning and difference between “use by” and “best before” dates.
  • Lead by example: don’t waste your own food!
  • Collect opinions from students to give the kitchen and caterers feedback on how to make school food better and improve the dining experience.

School managers:

  • Form an action group with the participation of all stakeholders and set goals for food waste reduction.
  • Involve students to find out what makes food attractive and tasteful.
  • Create a system for pre-ordering food and reporting how many students are present.
  • Plan lunch breaks at the appropriate time and length.
  • Initiate campaigns, competitions, and other hands-on activities to raise awareness at the whole-school level (see Campaigning and cooking for awareness raising).
  • Include food waste into the procurement criteria of catering services (see further Procurement criteria to reduce food waste).

More Issues To Consider

To have a bigger effect on reducing food waste, the schools must take an integrated approach, i.e. collaborate with school caterers and cooks (see School catering tackling food waste).

Further Information

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