Around 10 million tonnes of food and drink were wasted in the UK in 2019.
A significant portion of this waste (around 15%) is generated in the hospitality industry1, including Students’ Union facilities.
Around 70% of food waste is generated in households, including by students.
Globally, the 1.3 billion tons of food loss and waste creates 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Decaying food waste releases methane, which has much higher impact as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. The build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is currently a major contributor to the ongoing climate disaster.
That around 10% of people over 15 years old in the UK report experiencing a struggle to get enough food to eat3 – one of the worst rates in Europe.
Student food sharing initiatives such as the Strathclyde Foodsharing Society have proved to be an effective way to provide access to food for disadvantaged students, as well as working to create links with local communities.
Foodbanks, composting initiatives, and food-sharing also have the added benefit of reducing amounts of food sent to landfill.
NUS will work with Students’ Unions to find ways to minimise food waste at their facilities.
NUS should work with Student’ Unions to raise awareness among students of the issue of food waste, and to educate students on techniques for minimising personal food waste and proper food waste disposal.
NUS will support existing Students’ Union food waste schemes such as food banks, food-sharing societies, and composting initiative, and help raise awareness among students of these provisions.
NUS will advocate for foodbank provisions with easy access from university student accommodation.
NUS will investigate and create a set of achievable waste targets for Students’ Unions to work towards.
NUS will annually review its commercial supply chain to ensure food waste is minimised.