Reducing Food Waste in Irish Schools

Food waste is a global issue that has negative economic, environmental, and social impacts. In Ireland, it is estimated that 30% of all food produced is wasted annually, with a large percentage of this waste coming from the education sector. Schools generate significant amounts of food waste as students often don’t finish their meals. Food is discarded due to expiration dates. In this blog post, we will explore the importance of reducing food waste in Irish schools, the benefits of doing so, and practical steps that schools can take to reduce their food waste.

Education about food waste

Education is the key to reducing food waste in Irish schools. Students and staff must be aware of the issue and understand the positive benefits of reducing food waste. Schools can incorporate food waste reduction into the curriculum and teach students about the impact of food waste on the environment, economy, and society. By educating students, school administrators, and staff, they can foster a culture of sustainability and encourage responsible behavior towards food waste reduction.

Action on food waste

Irish schools can take practical steps to reduce food waste. Schools should conduct a waste audit to identify the types of food waste generated in their premises. This audit will provide useful information that can help develop a food waste reduction strategy. Schools can encourage students to bring their lunches instead of buying pre-packaged ones, plan meals carefully based on the number of students attending, and encourage staff to use up leftovers by incorporating them into the next day’s meal. Furthermore, schools can donate any non-perishable unopened food items to local charities, ensuring no waste is generated.

Setting goals to reduce food waste in schools

Irish schools can set goals for reducing their food waste. Goals can include reducing the volume of food waste generated, achieving zero waste, and diverting food waste to composting. Setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based) goals can help schools to monitor their progress regularly, identify gaps and changes that need to be made, and align the school’s strategic plans towards food waste reduction.

Implementation of plans

Implementing a food waste reduction plan will require collaboration between the School Management Team, Teachers, Students and Support Staff members. All employees need to be familiar with the plan and know how to implement it. Schools must provide the necessary resources such as bins and signage, set up a monitoring system to track progress, and regularly communicate with the wider school community, for example, parents and other stakeholders.


Achieving food waste reduction goals requires consistent effort and commitment. Irish schools need to regularly monitor and evaluate their food waste reduction plans, regularly educate staff and students, and set new targets to continue their progress towards zero-waste. Further, schools can use events such as World Environment Day, Earth Hour, and Green Week to create awareness, stimulate interest and encourage students to implement the food waste reduction plan actively.


Reducing food waste in Irish schools can have significant economic, environmental and social benefits for the community. Schools can drive this change through educating students and staff, taking practical steps, setting goals and targets, collaborating and implementing. The efforts schools make towards food waste reduction and sustainable practices overall, will not only benefit their immediate environment and community but will create a lasting impact for future generations. We all have a role to play in reducing food waste, and together we can create a more sustainable and healthy planet.


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