Länsi-Pori School studies food waste

News 2018-05-31 at 13:30
Porin ruokahävikki 285

The red and white screen beside the school’s biowaste container first shows 50 grams, and then changes to 2.1 kilograms. A student at Länsi-Pori School has just found out how much food he/she threw away and how much food in total was disposed of during that day’s school meal.

The scale has been recording the amount of food that students throw away for six weeks already – without the students knowing about it. A scale installed under the biowaste container sends information about the amount of food scraped off the plate into the waste bin to the tablet screen and saves the information in an application. For the next two weeks, the tablet will continue to provide every diner with clear information about how much food they threw away.

“We want to find out whether this information affects the amount of plate waste. Our goal is to make students understand that although they may only produce a small amount of waste personally, it adds up to a large amount when combined,” says Kirsi Silvennoinen, a researcher from Natural Resources Institute Finland. She was responsible for the study.

The weighing system compares the amount of waste to the early weeks of the test period, when plate waste was weighed without the students’ knowledge and the same food was served on the same weekdays. The school’s kitchen and teaching staff are cooperating closely to improve the appreciation, appeal and waste management of school meals.

Reducing food waste is a shared goal for the entire city. The city of Pori is part of the CIRCWASTE – Towards Circular Economy in Finland project, which is funded by the EU Commission’s LIFE programme. The food waste weighing trial at Länsi-Pori School is being implemented in cooperation with the city of Pori’s CIRCWASTE Luuppi sub-project, education division and Pori Municipal Service Enterprise. Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), which is also part of the CIRCWASTE project, is responsible for the research side. Luke is also researching food waste at other sites, and the information collected in Pori will become part of a larger block of comparative data.