Pupils at Hillcrest Primary in Downham Market do their bit to cut food waste

Hillcrest pupils are reducing food waste. Picture supplied by Hillcrest Primary School

Hillcrest pupils are reducing food waste. Picture supplied by Hillcrest Primary School - Credit: Archant

Primary school children are playing their part in a project to cut food waste.

Pupils at Hillcrest Primary School in Downham Market have been taking part in the Sainsbury Discovery Community project, with the help of their teachers and Norfolk County Council.

Older pupils and the school's own all-age Eco Team, worked with the county council's Jenny Cross and teachers Nikki Wardle and Renate Harris to undertake an audit of lunchtime and other food waste, and then to develop a joint action plan to reduce it across the school.

Miss Wardle said: 'We were amazed to discover that the school threw away 161kg of food a week - that's the equivalent of over six tonnes a year. We came up with a joint plan to donate usable food to the new community fridge, and to give other left over food to Church Farm for rare breeds.

'The children also took home a food diary to help their parents to provide more appropriate packed lunch portion sizes, and we worked with school kichen staff to start filling compost bins for all unusable vegetable and fruit food waste.'

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Other initiatives included extending the lunch break for early years children to give them more time to eat.

Headteacher Matthew Try said: 'The project was a great success because we have now reduced our food waste by 17pc - that's over one tonne a year. The whole school was involved, and we have all learned a valuable lesson in reducing our food waste, and recycling our leftovers.'

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The food waste initiative was part of the Sainsbury's Discovery Community project and Recycle for Norfolk's Plan, Eat, Save, initiative.

Ian Devereux, West Norfolk council's cabinet member for the environment, said: 'A 17pc reduction in food waste is very impressive over a relatively short period of time. It goes to show that my making some simple changes, a small group can have considerable impact. Imagine the impact if everyone changed their behaviour in this way.'

John Fisher, chairman of the Norfolk Waste Partnership, said:

'Hopefully, through the work of the teaching staff and the county council's waste reduction team, the pupils at Hillcrest Primary School have developed good habits of cutting out food waste that will last a lifetime and will pass that knowledge on to their parents and grandparents.'

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