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Hillcrest School cuts out food waste

schoolchildren at hillcrest primary celebrate cutting food waste

Published: Thursday, 31st May 2018

Children at Hillcrest Primary School in Downham Market have played their part in the Sainsbury Discovery Community project, by cutting down on their food waste.

Older pupils and the school's own all-age Eco Team, worked with Norfolk County Council's Jenny Cross and teachers Nikki Wardle and Renate Harris in February 2018 to undertake an audit of lunchtime and other food waste, and then to develop a joint action plan to reduce food waste across the school.

Nikki Wardle said: "We were amazed to discover that the school threw away 161kg of food a week - that's the equivalent of over 6 tonnes a year. We came up with a joint plan to donate usable food to the new Community Fridge, and to give other leftover food to Church Farm for rare breeds. The children also took home a food diary to help their parents to provide more appropriate packed lunch portion sizes, and we worked with school kitchen staff to start filling three new compost bins for all unusable vegetable and fruit food waste."

Other successful initiatives were tried, including an entertaining 'Mad Science' event and extending the lunch break for early years children to give them more time to eat.

The school's headteacher, Matthew Try, said: "The project was a great success because we have now reduced our food waste by 17% - that's over one tonne a year. The whole school was involved, and we have all learned a valuable lesson in reducing our food waste, and recycling our leftovers."

The food waste initiative was part of the Sainsbury's Discovery Community project and Recycle for Norfolk's Plan, Eat, Save, initiative to reduce food waste.

Cllr Ian Devereux, Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk cabinet member for Environment said: "The staff and pupils at Hillcrest School are to be congratulated on this wonderful project. A 17% reduction in food waste is very impressive over a relatively short period of time. It just goes to show that my making some simple changes, a small group can have considerable, positive impact. Imagine the scale of the impact if everyone changed their behaviour in this way. I hope that these pupils will share their experience with others to get more people thinking differently about food waste."

Recycle for Norfolk is the public face of the Norfolk Waste Partnership, an organisation made up of all Norfolk's district councils and Norfolk County Council.

The Chairman of the Norfolk Waste Partnership, Councillor John Fisher, said: "Hopefully, through the work of the teaching staff and the county council's waste reduction team, the pupils at Hillcrest Primary School will have developed good habits of cutting out food waste that will last a lifetime - and will pass that knowledge on to their parents and grandparents."

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