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The opportunity of tracking food waste in school canteens: Guidelines for self-assessment
- Derqui, Belén, Fernandez, Vicenc
- Waste management 2017 v.69 pp. 431-444
- audits, business enterprises, case studies, catering, guidelines, managers, plate waste, private schools, school food service, trays, waste management
- Reducing food waste is one of the key challenges of the food system and addressing it in the institutional catering industry can be a quick win. In particular, school canteens are a significant source of food waste and therefore embody a great opportunity to address food waste. The goal of our research is the development of guidelines for audit and self-assessment in measuring and managing food waste produced at school canteens. The purpose of the tool is to standardise food waste audits to be executed either by scholars, school staff or by catering companies with the objective of measuring and reducing food waste at schools. We performed a research among public and private schools and catering companies from which we obtained the key performance indicators to be measured and then pilot-tested the resulting tool in four schools with over 2900 pupil participants, measuring plate waste from over 10,000 trays. This tool will help managers in their efforts towards more sustainable organisations at the same time as the standardisation of food waste audits will provide researchers with comparable data. The study suggests that although there is low awareness on the amount of food wasted at school canteens, managers and staff are highly interested in the topic and would be willing to implement audits and reduction measures. The case study also showed that our tool is easy to implement and not disruptive.