It was as a fresher, sitting in the south quadrangle of Royal Holloway University, that the reality of food waste first appeared on my radar. ‘Look at these stats - 67 sandwiches, 101 bottles of fruit juice - it’s insane’, my friend lamented, waving her papers before me. She had got hold of the catering departments’ statistics of the food thrown away in one of the university venues in the past fortnight. As Christians, we had faith in a God who loves us all equally, and calls us to love each other in return. We had faith that God loves this earth deeply and doesn’t want us to squander our resources. So, that day, we decided to put our faith into action, and the Royal Holloway Food Recycling Scheme was born.
Speaking to the university newspaper, my friend and co-founder was quoted as saying ‘the prototype can encourage other unis to say “Let’s model that”’. Twenty-two months later, and the model is starting to spread.
A couple of weeks ago I was invited up to Sheffield University to run a workshop with the Students’ Union to help them set up a Food Recycling Scheme. Sheffield Hallam, never to be outdone by their neighbours, caught wind and asked me to run a workshop there too! One of my personal priorities for this year as a Faith in Action intern was to inspire students to step up and join the fight against food waste, so needless to say this was a big day for me.
In both Sheffield University and Sheffield Hallam I met extraordinary students passionate about reducing food waste in their universities. They had all the passion required, but just needed a little practical guidance on how to coordinate such a scheme. It was my privilege to share what experience I had, and I can’t wait to see how things progress in Sheffield.
The cherry on the cake is that the National Union of Students (NUS) want to publish a template of the Food Recycling Scheme so that universities all over the country can adopt it as a volunteer project in the next academic year. With the progress in Sheffield informing the details of the template, we will write this together and publish it in the summer.
If you have faith in God that loves us and loves this planet let me encourage you to put that into action, into a project that sees a tangible reversal of our habit of waste, and shows care and consideration to our neighbours. If you would like to know more about the Food Recycling Scheme, do please contact me!