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Meet the #EWWRAwards Finalists: Sant Vicenç de Castellet on healthy and sustainable school meals

The EWWR Awards finalists have been announced! In each category, the Jury has selected their top 3 finalists . The winners will be revealed on 15 May in Brussels during the EWWR Awards Ceremony. In the days and weeks to come, we will introduce you the nominees one by one. Today, we would like you to present you the action organised by the municipality of Sant Vicenç de Castellet in Spain to promote healthy and sustainable meals in local schools. The action has been nominated in the Public administration category.

What did your action consist of?

Our project consisted of promoting healthy and sustainable meals in schools in order to reduce the amount of food and packaging waste generated and to ensure that children eat healthier by avoiding processed food, preservatives, processed sugar and trans fats.

The project was carried out in all the primary schools in our municipality, targeting approximately 600 students, and benefited from the involvement of parents’ associations, management teams and the local health centre. Its implementation took place in various stages:

In the preparatory stage, we devised a Decalogue of the ten commandments of a healthy and sustainable snack for families, good practice handbooks for the reduction of waste and we set the bases for our Instagram competition. We also held
informative meetings with the families in the participating schools to explain the campaign, its implementation and to invite parents to get involved.

In the first phase, we benchmarked the amount of waste that was being produced in each of the 26 participating classes with the help of the “Basureto” (“basura” means rubbish in Spanish) clown.

In the second phase, we held workshops on sustainable and healthy meals with each of the 26 groups of students. These were carried out in conjunction with the environmental teacher and a public health nurse, who helped us analyse meals in terms of nutrition and waste generated. During this activity, we handed out to every student a reusable food pack (snack’n’go pack) to motivate families to avoid disposable packaging and the Decalogue of the sustainable and healthy snack with all the information necessary about recommended snacks. Our objective was that students would develop the habit of using the snack’n’go pack and that it would become a staple in their schoolbags.

Instagram competition #svcresiduzero: Was targeted at the families of the students, who could upload photos of healthy and sustainable snacks. In total, 112 photos were submitted.

The third phase consisted of a final evaluation of the waste reduction resulted from this action, which averaged 33% across the participating schools.

How did you come up with the idea?

The city hall of Sant Vicenç de Castellet has been organising actions for the EWWR for many years in order to create awareness among residents about waste reduction. The majority of the actions we have organised, although they were addressed at the general public, have not attained the long-last impact that we expected in terms of leading to
behavioural change.

Therefore, we decided to target this event directly at the 600 students and their families through schools, which serve as a reference for the latter.

The students spend between one and six years in the same school. Therefore, this was an opportunity for us the inspire new habits and reinforce them by following up in the medium term. We believe that the ages we targeted are propitious for behavioural change, which students will be able to take with them in the next stages of their lives – adolescence and adulthood.

Why is waste reduction important for the municipality of Sant Vicenç de Castellet?

We are at a point in time when urgent measures need to be taken in order to mitigate climate change. Public authorities like ours have the responsibility of serving as role models. Waste reduction and good nutrition have numerous environmental benefits, such as the reduction in the use of natural resources and raw materials, energy efficiency, the reduction in the environmental impact of manufacturing plants and landfills and, also, better health.

Where can people reach you if they have questions?

Ajuntament de Sant Vicenç de Castellet

Address: Plaça de l’Ajuntament, 10, 08295 Sant Vicenç de Castellet (Barcelona)

Telephone: +34 936 93 06 11

Email: svc.mediambient [AT] svc.cat

Website: www.svc.cat/serveis/medi-ambient/

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