Starting as a one-man protest over food waste at Durham University, Embrace the Waste has since grown into a food waste-reduction initiative that simultaneously; reduces food waste; raises money for charity; offers people discounted food; and benefits businesses that take part. The scheme was launched by student, Matthew Unerman (pictured).

Just running at lunch meals for 4 weeks, Embrace the Waste managed to raise over £700 for charity and stop 460 meals from going to waste in Castle College (Durham University). Embrace the Waste has expanded to businesses in the Durham area, offering them the chance to reduce their food waste while donating money to a charity of their choice.

DASH has benefited from the scheme as a local charity receiving donations from local businesses. Matthew also organised a food collection of tinned and dried food at Christmas time which we distributed to residents.

Nina Griffiths, Director of Operations, Colleges and Student Experience Division, Durham University, said: “We share the concern of many over the amount of food that gets wasted and reducing food waste is a key objective in our environmental action plan.

“We are pleased to have been able to support Matthew’s idea to ‘Embrace the Waste’ and pleased that students are enjoying the service at University College.

“The pilot will be reviewed over the Christmas vacation and discussions over whether it can be adapted for other Colleges will begin early in the New Year.”

Statistics on food waste:

  • The University produced 337 tonnes of food waste in 2018/19. This food waste was sent to
    Anaerobic Digestion, where it was converted into 29,000m3 of bio methane, which could be used to generate over 300,000 kilowatt hours of electricity.