Focus on reducing food waste

Free stuff . . . University of Otago postgraduate food science students (from left) Felicity Prendergast, Meghan Bennet, Hannah Cox and Dominic Shepherd hold some of the items students can get free at the food waste event next week. PHOTO: JESSICA WILSON

A group of University of Otago students is holding an event next week in the hope it will encourage other students to reduce their food waste.

Postgraduate food science students Meghan Bennet, Hannah Cox, Felicity Prendergast and Dominic Shepherd are holding the event in the university’s union hall on Thursday.

From 10am until 2pm, students can get free food from the communal pantry and fridge, learn new recipes for food that is commonly wasted and play games.

The food had been given to the group by local supermarkets and cafes, and was made up of “perfectly edible” products that otherwise would have gone to landfill, Miss Prendergast said.

Food often had to be thrown away because the packaging was damaged, she said.

Each year, New Zealanders threw away 157,389 tonnes of food at a cost of about $1.7billion.

Mr Shepherd said the activities would include pedalling a smoothie bike borrowed from WellSouth, a pledge wall where students could write what they planned on doing to reduce their food waste, and food pong.

In food pong, 10 cups were labelled with commonly wasted items. Students would throw two balls and the cups they landed in would determine which ingredients they would have to create a recipe from.

From 11am until 1pm students would be able to “talk to a scientist” about any questions they had, and at 1.30pm a Kiwi Harvest representative would talk about the organisation and the work it did.

The group has partnered with the Dunedin City Council and Kiwi Harvest for the event.