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Lesson at a Glance

Food is something we all take for granted and it is easy to forget how much food we waste. This exercise encourages students to take a closer look at the food they throw away and think of alternative uses for unwanted meals.

Learning Outcome

This activity is designed to get pupils thinking about how much food is wasted in the UK. The discussion should make pupils think about the effect food waste has upon the environment and encourage them to consider ways to reduce and discourage the amount of food waste sent to landfill.

Resources Needed

Whiteboard and pen

Leftover vegetables (carrot, potato, onion etc…)

Key Words


Harmful gases

Food waste



Throw away

Making sure food doesn't go to waste

The lesson steps:


Try starting the conversation with the following facts: Every year the UK generates over 14 million tonnes of waste. To give you an idea that’s about:

6.2 million apples.

9.8 million slices of bread.

700,000 eggs. Every day.

All thrown in a big hold in the ground. This waste gives off methane gas, which is really bad for the air, bad for people and bad for the environment.


Ask your students to think about what they’ve eaten in the last week and what leftovers they have had – write these down on the board.


Now ask them to reflect on the total food waste from just their class – and what that list would look like for the full UK.


Following this – bring out the leftover vegetables. Explain that these were leftovers that you had in your fridge. Ask the class if you should throw them away – and if not, what else could you do with them (prompt make soups, casseroles, feed them to a pet rabbit etc...).


End the discussion with the fact that food waste has a negative effect on the environment (landfill, methane gases and the resources used to make each meal). Ask your students to think of ways of reducing waste. e.g. eating less, checking sell by dates or just doing as your mum and dad tell you and finishing all the food on your plate!

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