A feast of great ideas

Compiled by Karly Cox
Compiled by Karly Cox |

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Our Waste Not, Want Not project attracted a lot of attention from schools across Hong Kong. Both primary and secondary school students wanted to do their part and make a difference. They sent us proposals for school projects promoting food waste awareness. Even students who couldn't complete their projects on time seemed to have learned a lot from our workshops. They returned to their classrooms with ideas they could share with their schoolmates. Some schools had some very imaginative ways to raise awareness, to reduce the amount of food wasted in their canteens, or to use the waste.

Here are summaries of some of the best projects:

Diocesan Boys' School Primary Division Groups 1 and 2

Students show off their stamps after finishing their meals.

This group decided to take part in a Greeners Action campaign. Every time a student finished his meal, he would get a stamp on his score sheet. Whoever got 16 stamps or more would win a prize. The class with the most stamps in all would get a great prize.

The second group from DBSPD introduced composting into the school garden to make use of food waste. They also made a video, reminding students that children in other, poorer countries can't afford to waste food.

Boys' Group, Fanling Rhenish Church Secondary School

Volunteers collect waste.

The group collected food waste from Form Three classrooms over three days. On the first day, they collected 13kg of potatoes. On the second, they collected 10kg of rice. On the third, they collected 4.5kg of rice. (They passed this food waste on to their schoolmates for their project.) They worked out that all the food thrown out over three days contained enough calories to feed an adult for 17 days.

Group 1, Fanling Rhenish Church Secondary School

A food waste collection in class

After taking part in the workshop at Hyatt Regency Shatin, this group realised that leftover food can be useful. They decided to build a compost bin at school, collect leftover food and let it ferment. They used the product as fertiliser in the school garden. They worked with the Boys' Group to save food waste. They will have to wait five months for the fertiliser to be ready. They plan to use it to grow organic vegetables that the students can then eat.

Group 2, Fanling Rhenish Church Secondary School

The group wrote a play about a rich, wasteful girl who doesn't appreciate what she has. But she meets two angels who explain how serious the food waste problem is. They change her mind. The group filled the story with facts about food waste, and helpful suggestions as to how people can help - such as donating food to the poor. They performed the play in front of their classmates.

Group 3, Fanling Rhenish Church Secondary School

Students during a "famine".

After attending the Hyatt Regency workshop, this group organised a function called "Feast or Famine". Half the students were invited to a "feast" featuring pizza, spaghetti, soup, seafood rice and soft drinks. The other half were in for a "famine", getting only two pieces of bread and half a corn on the cob. After the meals, the organisers asked students for their thoughts on food waste and global food shortages. While only a third of those at the "feast" said they better understood food problems, nearly 80 per cent at the "famine" did.

Geography People, St Mark's School

Students work on a radio drama about food waste.

This creative bunch chose to write and broadcast a radio drama aimed at the school's Form Two students. The drama revealed scary facts about how much food is thrown away in Hong Kong, and the negative side-effects of food waste.

Students were asked to complete a questionnaire before and after listening to the show (click on the player below to hear the drama). From the two sets of answers, the drama producers learned that their show had helped raise awareness about food waste among students.

Green Activists, SKH Tang Shiu Kin Secondary School

Students show some elderly people how to use food waste.

This team combined environmental activism with volunteering. They held a workshop at an elderly centre, where they explained how chopped-up orange skins could be combined with soil in a plastic bottle. This produces a fertiliser that was put to good use at the centre's organic farm in Wan Chai Park.

Green Pioneers, Heep Yunn School

A food recycling project in school.

This well-thought-out campaign included presentations in assembly to explain the issues associated with food waste and how to reduce it. It was followed by a food recycling programme, where food was sorted, decomposed and used in the school garden. Green ambassadors were recruited from each class. The team found that before their campaign, the amount of recyclable food waste produced by 100 Form One students was 8kg. Afterwards, it was only 1.5kg.

Gardening Team, Islamic Kasim Tuet Memorial College

Muslim students pledge to reduce food waste.

Wasting food is forbidden in Islam so the team felt right at home with this project. The first part involved collecting food waste to make organic compost. The second part was a poster and slogan competition. The top three posters combined messages from the Quran with eye-catching images for impact.

See their video below.

Museful, St Mark's School

A student video educates classmates about waste.

After visiting a landfill and seeing how much food is wasted every day in Hong Kong, this group made a video showing how you can avoid food waste. They asked classmates to fill in a questionnaire asking whether viewers would want to try the green methods shown in the video. A very encouraging 90 per cent said they would.

See their video below.

PLK 1984 Ho Yuk Ching College

Students during a poster design competition.

This team got a very broad view of the food waste project after attending the landfill, organic farm and bread run workshops. They came up with the idea of being "food savers". To do this, they summarised what they learned at the workshops in a video broadcast on the school's campus TV station. Secondly, they set up a game booth at a school fair to spread the message of reducing food waste. Finally, they held an inter-class poster design competition to encourage other students to think more about the situation. At lunchtime, the team stayed in the canteen to urge Form One and Two students not to waste food.

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