Local Cooperation for Circular Biowaste in Schools and Beyond

Currently, a large amount of food is thrown away each year in the Baltic Sea Region. Food waste and loss take place at many stages of the value chain. Closing the biowaste loop remains a challenge, but also holds untapped economic potential for local actors in the region. Schools are an important actor in the food value chain, where many aspects of this potential remain untapped.

Our project FoodLoops, launched in September 2023, aims at closing the biowaste loop in the school setting through a strong focus on stakeholder engagement. The project will, among others, empower municipalities, educators and caterers to improve better biowaste separation at its source (e.g., in school canteens and kitchens). Moreover, FoodLoops will guide these actors in cooperating to develop solutions that turn unavoidable (food) waste into products of value, such as organic compost. Further, the project intends to engage potential markets for these value-added products, such as local organic farmers.

Stakeholder engagement formats will be utilised to bring together local actors to find solutions for biowaste management and recycling in schools. Namely, the project will develop a common biowaste strategy in the setting of school canteens and kitchens for selected scenarios in Lithuania, Poland and Finland.

The CSCP is responsible for coordinating and supporting local partners in conducting stakeholder engagement workshops in order to achieve active collaboration of relevant actors towards the project’s objectives. In turn, the partners will steer the local stakeholder engagement process from which potential pilot actions and cooperation between the target groups will arise. For instance, this could include school administrators and organic farmers associations co-creating a concrete plan to turn canteen food waste into compost for local farms.

In the second year of the project, the CSCP will lead national replication workshops, which then aim to apply and disseminate the results and methodology within Poland, Lithuania and Finland and to further countries in the Baltic Sea Region.

Turning waste into something of value that can be reused helps to reduce the quantity of produced waste as well as decrease the amount of new materials that would otherwise need to be introduced into the production cycle. FoodLoops will also work on raising awareness about the importance of waste reduction, composting, and Circular Economy among educators, children and households.

The project is supported by the Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme and will run for two years (2023-2025). The project is implemented by the CSCP and three other project partners: Savonia University of Applied Sciences, the Municipality of Gdansk, Poland, and the Lithuanian Consumer Institute.