Words by Jasmine Crowhurst, News Sub-Editor
Food Waste Sussex’s are proposing a policy that aims to end unnecessary food waste in Students’ Union affiliated food outlets and on campus.Food Waste Sussex’s proposal has been approved for referendum by the Students Union.
Titled “Should the Students’ Union Trading Company only enter contracts with commercial partners who will ensure surplus food from their campus outlet will be ethically and responsibly redistributed, and pressure existing commercial partners to do the same?” The referendum aims to eliminate unnecessary food waste on campus by making it compulsory for the commercial partners of the Students’ Union to redistribute food which would otherwise be wasted or sent off to create biofuel.
Food Waste Sussex proposes that any surplus food is handed over to organisations such as FareShare and Too Good To Go, whose main priority is to ethically and responsibly redistribute unsellable food which is fit for consumption. They also aim for the Students’ Union to create an ethical procurement and partnership regarding future contracts to ensure long term sustainability at the University.
The policy is supported by Leave No Trace Sussex, Scoop, Climate Action Sussex, Extinction Rebellion, Roots Society, Wildlife and Conservation Society, Sussex Vegan Society, and the Sustainable Fashion Collective.
Food Waste Sussex highlights that the global food system is responsible for 30% of the overall greenhouse gas emissions (IPCC, 2019) and research conducted by The UN Environment Programme’s Food Waste Index has revealed that 17% of this food goes to waste, and annually 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted on a global scale.
Sussex Food Waste states in their proposal “These statistics are unacceptable and preventing unnecessary food waste on campus is the first step to a more sustainable future and it is the bare minimum we can do to reduce the university’s carbon footprint.”
“Sustainably disposing of surplus food works towards Sussex’s aim “to become one of the most sustainable universities in the world”, by preventing an unnecessary waste of resources, whilst simultaneously fighting hunger and providing vulnerable people with good quality food.”
The proposed policy will ensure that as a condition to signing new contracts, commercial partners of the Students’ Union will have to have adequate policies in place to prevent unnecessary food waste in their campus outlets.
The Students’ Union will endeavour to persuade their current partners to adopt these policies even within existing contracts. Adequate policies can include but are not limited to; donating food that is short dated or past the best before to charities such as Fareshare Sussex, using platforms such as Too Good to Go and Olio to redistribute short-dated food, and allowing staff to take home food that has been wasted if it is still within a use by date and safe to consume.
Too Good to Go is an app designed to fight food waste, where customers can buy surplus or unsold short-dated food from local shops and restaurants at a discounted price. Too Good to Go has partnered with other universities across the UK including The University of Worcester in March 2021 as part of universities efforts to cut down on food waste and fight climate change.
Students across Campus can vote on the proposal during the spring term. Voting takes place between 21st March and 25th March 2022. You can vote at sussexstudent.com/elections.