St Mary’s College has been making positive changes to reduce its waste, with particular focus on the school canteen and the introduction of a package-free policy. Initiated by the College’s student-led sustainability group, The Footprint Project, the College is aiming to serve healthy, tasty meals while doing away with single-use products and packaging.

In addition to phasing out bottled and carton drinks, plastic-sealed snacks and packaged icy poles, the College has also introduced re-usable plates, bowls, cups and cutlery for the 900+ staff and students to enjoy their meals before being returned to the canteen for washing and re-use.

The changes were introduced at the end of October 2019 and have led to a significant decrease in waste volume, with only one garbage bin of rubbish now coming from the canteen each day. What a great achievement!

College Canteen Manager Phil Shanny, who has been a supporter of the sustainable food movement for more than 10 years, said he hopes to make the canteen “as sustainable as possible”. With its onsite fruit and vegetable garden used in the canteen menu plus the College’s bi-annual Sustainability Fair, compost program and Plastic Free July activities among others, they are well on their way to success!

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