Students watch a Behind the News (BTN) clip on food rescue and make a pledge to reduce food waste.

Learning objective

Students identify the imbalance between wants and resources, and the impact of scarcity on resource allocation. They identify that, when making choices, people use strategies to inform their purchasing and financial decisions.

Curriculum links

Questioning and researching

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability

Food waste, food scarcity, pledge, meal plan, leftovers

This lesson explores the strategies that can be used by households to reduce food waste and make a pledge to commit to change behaviours.

Wasting food has a significant impact on our resources. When we waste food, we waste the resources used to grow it, such as water, soil, and energy. All the energy used to process, package and transport food to our homes is also wasted. The estimated annual cost of food waste to the Australian economy is $20 billion (National Food Waste Strategy 2017).

The 2019 Benchmark study Food waste – Western Australian Household Attitudes and Behaviours found that:

  • Almost one third (30 per cent) of WA participants reported that they could not tell if something was safe to eat so disposed of it.
  • 50 per cent of WA household food managers understood the meaning of both use by and best before food date labels.
  • 45 per cent of respondents reported making extra food ‘just in case’ half the time or more often.   
  • A third of people (33 per cent) reported that at least half of the time, their fridge or freezer was too full to store more food.
  • Less than half (47 per cent) of WA household food managers reported making use of leftovers most of the time, and over one third (40 per cent) rarely saved and used leftovers.

Research shows that there are several simple things schools and students can do to avoid food waste. Options include:

  • encouraging students to take their food home (this can help families adjust what goes into the lunch box)
  • having students choose items for their lunch box or help pack it
  • cutting up fruit
  • having students play first, then eat.

Access to BTN video, pledge template

  1. Watch the BTN video Food Rescue(3.36 min)
  2. Use the BTN teacher resources to explore food rescue.
  3. Review the ways to reduce food waste and have students make a pledge to reduce their own food waste. The pledge can relate to school lunches as well as actions students can take at home. Students can appeal to their families to make a pledge as well. Ideas include:
    • choosing items for their lunch box or helping to pack their own lunch box for a week
    • taking leftover food from school lunches home
    • helping to choose what is for dinner
    • helping to write a shopping list
    • finding ways to use leftovers.
  4. If students identify that their school canteen has edible leftovers, they could include in their pledge the notion of contacting a local Foodbank or other charity to discuss how extra food could be donated.

Further explore the social impacts of food rescue:

Canadian documentary – Just eat it:

Oz Harvest article on making a pledge: