Parent payments that don’t cost the earth
It is estimated that schools produce over 10% of all non-domestic food waste in England, throwing away approximately 123,000 tonnes a year. According to a study by waste management experts, Wrap, over 75% of the waste produced by both primary and secondary schools is food waste. For every slice of pizza, portion of cottage pie and sandwich that ends up in the bin, the associated impact on the school budget is huge and often unnecessary.
Green schools, not mean schools
In an increasingly environmentally-conscious society, schools are seeking out creative ways to eliminate waste in the kitchen. Many schools have involved both parents and students in environmental initiatives. With the bulk of food waste heading straight to landfill, ‘generation green’ are keen to fight for a cleaner, greener environment.
While green-initiatives and community-awareness remain hugely positive for both schools and society as a whole, a reduction in waste at lunchtime will inevitably see great financial savings, too. It is estimated that waste costs schools and colleges approximately £250 million a year; that amounts to the cost of over 208,000 interactive white-boards or the annual cost of nearly 8,500 secondary school teachers. Being a green school definitely pays, in more ways than one.
Eliminating food waste could cut 22p off an average school meal – great news for both schools and parents. School teams across the country are experimenting with a variety of projects and strategies to reduce waste in the kitchen; monitoring popular meals and eradicating menu options which don’t appeal to the masses has proven successful for many. Others have opted for fresher ingredients, smaller portions and different cooking techniques.
You are what you eat
As the population becomes more environmentally conscious, it appears our diets are changing, too. According to the Vegan Society, the number of vegans in the UK quadrupled from 2012 to 2017. Over 20% of us are eating less meat and 19% of us are consuming fewer dairy products. Health initiatives such as ‘Meat-free Mondays’ and ‘Veganuary’ are becoming ever-more popular. It’s no surprise that parents are paying closer attention to what their children eat at dinner times.
According to a recent survey, four in ten parents worry about the food their child is eating when they’re not with them, with 43% often finding evidence of illicit sweets and fast food wrappers in school bags and bedrooms. Therefore, it’s easy to see why many parents would prefer to choose their child’s lunchtime meals themselves.
Waste not, want not
For schools, putting the power in parents’ hands to choose their child’s dinner options is beneficial for a number of reasons. For one, the responsibility to meet dietary requirements sits with the parent, rather than the school or student; secondly, in many cases, a parent is far more likely to make a healthy choice than a child; and last – but by no means least – with the right platform, schools have all the information they need to manage the kitchen efficiently, resulting in significantly less waste.
With dinner money debt on the rise and food waste causing finances to spiral, we set out to develop a solution which supports all schools.
Reliable, convenient and flexible, +Pay remains a favourite with both parents and schools when it comes to paying for school dinners. The platform utilises low-balance reminders to notify parents when it’s time to top-up and, with our free mobile app, paying for school dinners is sorted in a matter of seconds.
To support schools in the fight against food waste, we’ve developed new Advance Bookings functionality within +Pay to enable schools to plan ahead in the kitchen and manage payments. Now, schools can send out weekly menus in advance, allowing parents to select options and pay, all in one simple and speedy process.
With meal options gathered and counted, kitchens are well placed to manage suppliers and prepare portions as needed. And, with payments collected in full in advance, office teams can balance the budget and plan ahead for a healthy financial future.
It’s time to stop throwing money in the bin. Give parents the tools they need to support your school in the fight against unnecessary waste and save thousands of pounds, every year, with +Pay. Get in touch to find out more or to book a free demo.