School catering service demonstrates climate change credentials

Aberdeenshire Council’s Catering Service’s contribution to sustainability and climate change was discussed at today’s (Thursday, August 27) Education and Children’s Services Committee.

In a report before councillors, the service highlighted that over the last year there was a focus on contributing to the council’s Carbon Budget and an alignment with environmental and climate change policy.

Food waste measures are being introduced to all schools, the process of waste disposal, the amount of waste as well as keeping an eye on costs are all ways the service is meeting these aims. Examples include encouraging pupils to use reusable bottles or water stations, which has led to a decrease in sales of bottled drinks, and using real crockery and cutlery wherever possible. The service aims to increase sustainability and cut costs by sharing information such as menus online, seeing the reduction in 40,000 printed menus.  

The service is also encouraging sustainability by its commitment to Food for Life, the service currently holds the bronze food for life award for its primary school menu. Wherever possible, the service strives to buy local fresh produce such as milk, eggs, meat and vegetables. Over the coming months vegan and vegetarian options will be included on menus alongside traditional Scottish favourites.

Cllr Gillian Owen, Aberdeenshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee chair, said: “It is very pleasing indeed to see our school catering service is very much in line with the current move towards sustainable and environmentally friendly ways of doing things. These sustainable initiatives not only help with protecting our environment by reducing waste, they keep costs low too.”

Committee vice chair Cllr Rosemary Bruce added: “In Aberdeenshire we are lucky to have some of the finest natural produce and ingredients in Scotland. Parents and carers should be in no doubt that the highest possible quality meals are served to our pupils so that they can do their best in the classroom.”

A new app is also being developed for pre-ordering school meals at academies which will help speed up delivery, cut queues in dining rooms and help with the production of quantities of food as school kitchens will get a better idea of what pupils want on a specific day. 

The report is available in full by visiting https://committees.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/committees.aspx?commid=494&meetid=19546

You can also watch a webcast of Education and Children’s Services Committee by visiting https://aberdeenshire.public-i.tv/core/portal/home