Green your school canteen – reduce your food waste, swap out single use plastics, provide healthy food options.
School canteens are a great platform for showcasing school sustainability. They provide opportunities for students to make good choices about healthy food and purchasing and it can serve as a model for the broader school community.
There are many opportunities to reduce waste and improve the overall sustainability of your canteen. These ideas were explored in our recent webinar, click here to watch our speakers share their practical ideas and solutions.
Ideas and resources
There are plenty of ways you can reduce your reliance on single use plastic in the school canteen. Some may be easier than others – you can make a choice that suits your school community.
Reusable containers are an option that schools are adopting for drinks, lunches and treats. Research options for suitable containers, make a plan for cleaning and sorting, set up a return station, and make sure the system is clearly communicated with students and the school community. Check with your local council Environmental Health Officer about rules in your area for cleaning reuseable containers.
- Canteen Plastics Checklist, Rumbalara EZEC & Take 3 for the Sea
- School canteen action plans (Water bottles, container, sushi, straws), Northern Beaches Swap for Good program
- Single Use Plastic Regulations and supporting resources, NSW EPA Information for education providers and schools, including links to the EPA webinar about what is included in the single use plastic ban
- Green Canteen Fact Sheet, WA Waste Authority
- Plastic Free Canteens, Plastic Free Sophia
- Bye Bye Plastic, Plastic Free Schools, Ku-ring-gai Council
- Plastic free canteen webinar, PlasticNasties and FoodNasties and Northern Beaches Council
Ideas to reduce food waste in your canteen
- plan and forecast
- explore creative recipes for leftovers
- purchase in bulk
- cooking from scratch
- freezing and food storage
- use ingredients from your school kitchen garden
- buy locally grown food in season
- Food waste in canteens, Healthy Kids Association
- Love Food Hate Waste Resources, NSW EPA.
Food waste review for businesses and curriculum resources for teachers
- Turn off electrical appliances over the holidays
- Check seals are working on all appliances
- Consider energy rating and repairs when purchasing new appliances
- Streamline your workflow
Running a school canteen in a way that is financially and socially sustainable is an issue too! Many canteens are reliant on P&C volunteers and limited staffing, and change management can be challenging. Explore these links for supporting resources
- P&C Federation of NSW, information about employing canteen staff and resources for P&C members
- NSW Food Safety Authority guidelines for school canteens
- Federation of Canteens in Schools
- Healthy Kids Association
- ACT Health, Case studies of sustainable school canteen models in the ACT This report explores financial sustainability and healthy school options.