Did you know that eliminating food waste has been ranked as the third-best global solution to tackling climate change? This statistic piqued my interest in food waste, along with the fact that it combines sustainability and food which are two things that I’m all about. When the opportunity came up to do a summer research project working with the Food Waste Innovation Theme Researchers and the Sustainability Office (funded by Waste Management), I jumped at the chance. The aim of my project was to help students to reduce their food waste. I first set about finding out what sorts of food students commonly waste and why. It turns out that a general lack of planning and organisation around food management is to blame for leftovers, fresh foods and opened products getting chucked in the bin. From there, I came up with various interventions to help and that’s how my weekly meal plans evolved. The meal plans are designed to feed a flat of four students five dinner meals per week that are healthy, affordable and zero-waste. As well as recipes, the meal plans contain helpful information such as nutrition information, cost per serving and food waste reduction tips. As a student, reducing your food waste will save you money, reduce your environmental impact, alleviate feelings of guilt surrounding wasting food and, hopefully, lead to less food spilling out of Dunedin bins onto the pavement!
Ashlee Drummy, Food Science and Plant Biotechnology student