An international team led by Professor Angela Tregear from the University of Edinburgh has been looking at the carbon emissions from average school meals across Europe. They wanted to find out which activities contributed the most emissions and how to reduce the carbon footprint.

The team examined case studies of ten primary school meals services across five European countries (Croatia, Greece, Italy, Serbia, and the UK), analysing which foods each service procured, how far the foods travelled, the levels of plate waste, and the waste disposal methods. The research team also looked at how sourcing food from local suppliers impacted the overall carbon footprint of meals.

Interestingly, what they found was that the biggest contributor to carbon emissions was the disposal method of plate waste. The second biggest contributor was the amount of red meat. They concluded that to reduce carbon emissions, the priorities for catering managers should be switching to low carbon waste disposal methods and reducing red meat in menus.

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