Climate-friendly school dinners are on the menu for Sheffield pupils

note-0Sheffield Council leaders have approved plans to make school dinners more climate-friendly in a bid to reduce their carbon footprint.

By Molly Williams
Friday, 11th October 2019, 1:10 pm
Updated Tuesday, 15th October 2019, 1:32 pm

Reducing single-use plastics, shortening the supply chain and sourcing food locally are all part of the equation.

Leah Barrett, service manager, said: “One of the biggest things at the moment, certainly for schools and particularly pupils as well as elected members, is the climate change issue so that will be a big part of this contract.”

The council’s school meals contract with Taylor Shaw runs out in July 2020 and ahead of that date a number of changes are on the menu.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

They are inviting tenders for a new contract which will run until 2025.

Some of the biggest issues they are looking at include how food is handled, packaging and what happens to leftovers.

Councillor Mark Jones, cabinet member for climate change and environment, said at a cabinet meeting: “It’s really good to hear that we are looking at the climate impact of this new contract and make sure that contributes to our carbon reduction going forward.”

He asked what officers were doing to reduce use of plastics in their supply chain and how they can reduce their carbon footprint throughout the process by sourcing locally and delivering to schools during less congested times.

Ms Barrett said they were already taking a number of measures to reduce their impact on the environment including reusing products and recycling them at the end of the chain. Food waste is also taken to compost and used for things like gas and they are trialling recycled tools for serving.

She said one of the biggest challenges for the industry as a whole going forward was tackling use of plastics for hygiene like using cling film.

The citywide contract was designed by headteachers in 2000 so each school benefited from pooling their resources. There are currently around 22,000 school meals made every day and the food has to meet nutritional standards set by both the council and central government.