Stu­dents raise food waste aware­ness in novel ini­tia­tive

Gulf Times - - FRONT PAGE -

Stu­dents at Ge­orge­town Univer­sity in Qatar (GU-Q) have been tack­ling the chal­lenge of food waste by in­tro­duc­ing their cam­pus com­mu­nity to ‘up­cy­cling’, aimed at rais­ing aware­ness by us­ing the school cafe­te­ria to stage sus­tain­able so­lu­tions.

The pro­ject has been launched by the GU-Q Sus­tain­abil­ity Club through a col­lab­o­ra­tion with Qatar Up­cy­cling & Biodegrad­ables En­ter­prise (QUBE), an en­vi­ron­men­tal tech­nolo­gies com­pany that of­fers on-site mo­bile units that turn food waste into com­post.

“Up­cy­cling is the process of trans­form­ing waste into new ma­te­ri­als of bet­ter qual­ity or use,” ex­plained Salma

Has­san, pres­i­dent of the Sus­tain­abil­ity Club.

Up­cy­cling should not be con­fused with re­cy­cling, she cau­tioned. At GUQ, she noted that hav­ing the ma­chine on cam­pus “sparked im­por­tant con­ver­sa­tions within stu­dents and staff on the im­por­tance of re­duc­ing our con­sump­tion as well as find­ing so­lu­tions for our food waste.”

Food waste is a huge con­cern for Qatar, with stud­ies show­ing that over half of the na­tion’s garbage is com­posed of food waste, ac­cord­ing to a GU-Q state­ment. This is par­tic­u­larly crit­i­cal for a coun­try that im­ports so much of its food re­sources.

For nine days, club mem­bers vol­un­teered their time to col­lect food waste from the cafe­te­ria to de­posit into the QUBE ma­chine, which turned the food waste into soil in just 24 hours, re­duc­ing food waste by 90%. Through­out the du­ra­tion of the col­lab­o­ra­tion, 223kg of food waste was con­verted into nu­tri­ent rich soil that was used to feed plants on the grounds of the univer­sity.

Nodoka Nakamichi, co-founder and di­rec­tor for Mar­ket­ing and Pub­lic Re­la­tions of QUBE said, “This was a great col­lab­o­ra­tion which al­lowed us to work to­gether with GU-Q stu­dents who were ea­ger to learn about the ma­chine and up­cy­cling. We felt that an aware­ness re­gard­ing re­duc­ing car­bon foot­print through com­post­ing was raised.” The Ed­u­ca­tion City com­mu­nity was also in­vited to par­tic­i­pate and to sup­port the ini­tia­tive by vis­it­ing GU-Q to see the ma­chine in ac­tion.

The col­lab­o­ra­tion is in line with GUQ’s com­mit­ment to food security and en­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity, which was also demon­strated through the univer­sity’s pi­o­neer­ing re­search on food waste in Qatar un­der the 3-year SAFE-Q pro­ject (NPRP 7-1103-5-156) funded by the Qatar Na­tional Re­search Fund.

GU-Q’s Sus­tain­abil­ity Club mem­bers with the ma­chine that con­verts food waste into nu­tri­ent-rich soil.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Qatar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.