Lesson 3: Food waste


To research food wastage and suggest/implement practical solutions for food waste reduction.

Learning Areas

Geography, Science, English, The Arts


According to www.foodwise.com.au Australians discard up to 20 percent of the food they purchase (1 in 5 bags of groceries). Wasted food wastes the money, resources and energy that goes into producing and transporting it. Food waste, with regards to uneaten food is an issue in schools, with 14 percent (by weight) and 6 percent (by volume) of school landfill bins consisting of uneaten food.

There are a number of reasons why uneaten food is thrown away in schools. Students either don’t like the food in their lunchbox, they don’t want to get in trouble for not eating food or they are given too much food and can’t eat it all.

It is important for students, as well as parents/caregivers, to understand the reasons why food waste is a problem and to identify strategies for reducing it.

Lesson steps

  1. As a class, brainstorm reasons why food is wasted. Encourage students to think about why they might throw food away.
  2. Discuss whether it is ok to throw uneaten food into the bin. Why/ why not? Students can focus on ‘food miles’ as an extension to this and also discuss ethics (e.g. food shortages in other countries).
  3. Based on the reasons why people waste food, develop a list of ways in which food waste can be reduced.
  4. Students to visit www.foodwise.com.au and research the amount of food that is wasted in Australia each year.
  5. Students to create some different information pieces for students and parents/caregivers on food waste and how to reduce it. Information pieces could include posters, slogans, jingles/skits and newsletter articles.
  6. As an extension, ask students to complete the ‘My favourite healthy foods’ activity sheet. Students to take completed sheets home and put on their fridge to help avoid future food wastage from unwanted food.