FOUR schools in the Kempsey area are taking part in a new pilot program that aims to cut food waste in schools, help families save money, and have a positive impact on the environment, as part of Kempsey Shire Council's involvement in the Love Food Communities program.
Every student wastes 3kg of food each year on average.
In Australia each year, students throw away 3.5 million uneaten sandwiches, 3 million pieces of whole fruit and 1.3 million items of packaged foods.
The Lunchbox Leftovers Pilot program will trial three interventions - Make Your Own Lunch, Take Leftovers Home and Play Before Eating.
The schools are working with MidWaste, BehaviourWorks Australia and the NSW Government to explore food waste reduction measures in NSW schools.
Aldavilla Primary School and Kempsey Adventist School will be empowering students to make their own lunches.
Students at Smithtown Public School will be swapping the lunch break timetable so that students play first and eat second, with the aim of increasing the amount of food eaten and reducing waste.
Kinchela Public School are trialling a new school policy that will see leftover food go home so children and families will be more aware of the food uneaten and wasted.
Aldavilla Primary School principal Kathryn McNee welcomed the opportunity to join the Make Your Own Lunch initiative, saying "as part of this project, more than 300 students from Kindy to Year 6 have rolled up their sleeves and learnt how to prepare recipes for the Nude Food Lunch Box, as well as making their very own beeswax wrap."
MidWaste project officer Wendy Grant said all families could learn how to reduce food waste at home by signing up for the free online Food Smart program at www.midwaste.com.au/food-smart.
Member for Oxley, Melinda Pavey, said "it's great to see our wonderful local schools providing children with life skills by educating them about nutrition and food waste."
This project is supported by the NSW Government as part of its Love Food Hate Waste Program.