Why Andrew is Tackling Food Waste

Hannah Byk - 26 February 2021

Food waste is a huge topic which everyone is aware of. As part of the Step Up Sheffield challenge, it's really important to signpost users to other initiatives happening around the University campus. At the University of Sheffield there are lots of initiatives, and helpful tips to ensure you know what to do with your food waste.

We caught up with Andrew W, Contracts and Environment Co-ordinator at the University to find out more.

"Food waste is a huge problem in the UK, but here at the University, a proactive approach is really benefitting locals." 

From Andrew's first comment it was clear that he was passionate about this topic. Throughout the conversation he made it his mission to promote and raise awareness about the benefits of zero food waste and ensuring that staff and students alike are taking part to make Sheffield a more sustainable city when it comes to food. 

Andrew has been part of the S6 Foodbank for a number of years and has always felt close to this type of work. To help the local community is really important. "This year, more than ever, the work of the foodbank has been so important." As more and more people found themselves in a position where they had to rely on foodbanks for support, it is Andrew's mission to get the University to help. 

"Throughout the covid pandemic, demand has been incredible. The foodbank is working  with local supermarkets who donate food and have collection points in stores. Plus it is not only the supermarkets who are helping out, as local businesses in S6 and S10 are also collecting, but there is still a shortage of goods. We're very fortunate for this service but more can be done in the community."

As we spoke to Andrew there was a moment of reflection for us both:

"I just feel the need to give something back. It's so easy nowadays to fall on hard times and realise that you need help. There's no shame in it. The impact of the last twelve months has been felt all over the city and we're here to support those who need it - both now for a short time, or may need it in the future. I've been unemployed before and understand how that feels. I have experience of working with those looking for work; and have been out of work and I've seen the impact from both sides. It's my duty to do what I can." - Andrew W, Sheffield.

Each year the Donate, Don't Waste campaign at the University aims to reduce waste clothing, household items and food.  Foodbank collection points  are available so students can leave their unwanted food at the end of the term. 2.4 tonnes of food was donated last Christmas alone. Staff and students have always been engaged with this and are more than willing to support this initiative. 

During lockdown, Andrew has built up quite a balance of BetterPoints. As he was unable to spend them in his local stores, he decided to donate his BetterPoints to the S6 Foodbank. Thank you so much Andrew!

The S6 Foodbank is now set up on the app, so you can donate your BetterPoints to them too. Others have followed his example, and almost £60 will be sent over to the foodbank soon, as what we believe will be the first of many donations.