23 Feb 2021

WANBO Zero Waste Initiative – Food Waste

With a focus on reducing Island School’s carbon footprint and making it more sustainable, the environmental ambassadors have launched an ambitious zero-waste initiative. Recycling stations have been created at both campuses and now the team are turning their attentions to food waste.

1.3 billion tonnes of food are wasted or lost per year globally, the equivalent weight of more than 215 million elephants! 870 million hungry people could be fed if only 25% of current food waste is saved. In Hong Kong, 3662 tonnes of food is wasted per year – this is the same weight of 250 double-decker buses! According to the EPD (Environmental Protection Department), the current practice of disposing of biodegradable food waste in landfills is not sustainable and is environmentally undesirable as it depletes the limited landfill space, creates odours and generates leachates and landfill gases that require further mitigation measures.

WANBO students took part in The Nature Works Programme in 2018 – an initiative by think-tank Nature Conservancy that challenges students to work on a school environmental initiative. Winning the top prize of HK$5000, the students bought an industrial composter which, grinds food with soil to generate compost. Since then, WANBO’s food waste ambassadors have been collecting food waste from the food tech room, Chartwells and other sources, which is turned into soil for the gardening team.

Different types of food waste are compostable or non-compostable. Please see the following for more details:

Sam Hui (11W), WANBO leader said, “Food waste has always been an issue which we’ve sought to combat for a long period of time. It’s been a wonderful experience for all of us – the  food waste ambassadors are engaging with an issue they really care about. It’s fantastic to see that people have become increasingly aware of the impact of food waste  with the team’s continued advocacy and action and that they are enthusiastic to make a change with us. We’re very grateful to Mr Burrough, Mr Davis and his Urban Survival elements and horticultural team, Ms Chisulo and the food technology department, Chartwells, and our food waste ambassadors for always going above and beyond to support us in this project. We definitely would not have achieved so much without their guidance.”

“It was great to see such a large number of students taking an active interest in food waste issues.” Sean Lee (11N), WANBO leader commented. “While undertaking the last waste audit at Island School, 170 kgs of food is wasted per week. Though it’s quite frightening, we successfully established a daily roster to collect food waste, weigh it and remove liquid before putting it into the composter despite the pandemic. Compost produced both by the industrial composter and Bokashi bins are now used by the gardening team. We would be setting up a food waste collection point in the halls once we return to school.”

“It was difficult starting this initially but I felt that it was great to see all that is done to tackle environmental issues. I learnt a lot from the experience, thanks to the WANBO team for leading such a great initiative!”  food waste ambassador, Tiffany Hoi Ki Leung (11E).

If you would like to join the WANBO team please contact Mr Burrough (ross.burrough@online.island.edu.hk). Spaces on the team are limited, so early sign up is advised.

For more regular updates and announcements on the project, as well as opportunities for students to get involved in our initiatives, please go to WANBO’s Instagram page @iswanbo.