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    From January to June 2020 we worked with Zero Waste Scotland on a project to try and reduce food waste in the school Dining Hall. Here is their report from the project:

    "Zero Waste Scotland is an organisation which exists to create a society where resources are valued, and nothing is wasted. Our goal is to help Scotland realise the economic, environmental and social benefits of making best use of the world’s limited natural resources.

    Zero Waste Scotland has been working with Merchiston to weigh and record the volume of food waste created from food left on plates in the Dining Hall. Working with the catering team, teachers and the school Sustainability Committee, we have been trialling to see if reminders in the Dining Hall (to let the catering team know what you would like, to only take what you are going to eat, and that you can go up to the salad bar again) can change behaviours to reduce food waste. These took the form of meme posters.

    From this trial of the meme posters there was no reduction in food waste. We had planned to trial another set of posters which used the food waste data we had collected to highlight the impact of food waste on the environment. Due to the closure of the school in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, we were unable to trial these at the School. The online survey which was sent out to pupils, however, was shared to gain insight as to what they thought about the Dining Hall, the meme posters, climate change and the second set of posters.

    We focused on food waste because it is one of the worst causes of carbon emissions behind the climate crisis, which is why Zero Waste Scotland is leading work to reduce it by a third by 2025 under their Food Waste Reduction Action Plan. Although we have not been successful in reducing food waste, we can take what we learnt forward and to continue the conversation around food waste at Merchiston.

    We would like to thank the School for participating in the project and for responding to the survey, as we could not have done the project without you. We would also like to thank all the staff and teachers at Merchiston, the catering team and the Sustainability Committee for their support throughout the project."

    Lucy Campion