ZeeWaste4EU – Interview for Information Providers (Teachers) #1

This interview refers to the ZeeWaste4EU project which can be found in our Good Practices section.


What were the original goals and objectives of this practice/activity?

One of the goals of the ZeeWaste4EU project was to conduct a 7-day challenge among students to assess their food waste production. Each participant was required to make pictures of their meals before and after consumption, and then send these images to a special email address. Later on, all the images were evaluated using specialized software to quantify the quantity and types of food waste generated by each participant over the course of a week.
This activity aimed to gather unique data about food waste generation among young people in various European countries. Additionally, it aimed to raise awareness about food waste and, ideally, contribute to reducing its occurrence.

What was found to be particularly useful in achieving this practice objectives (methods, approaches)?

  1. Personalized approach: It proved highly effective to engage in one-on-one conversations with students, aiming to persuade them to take part in this challenge.
  2. Involvement of fellow students: Two Master’s students were designated to assist with this initiative, a decision that proved to be very effective. Their involvement facilitated reaching potential participants and they provided valuable insights and ideas on how to enhance student engagement.
  3. Offering rewards to participants upon completion of the 7-day challenge, such as a voucher for a lunch meal at the university cafeteria in our case.
  4. Simplifying the participation process for students as much as possible (clear instructions, timely notifications, and other measures).

What did students like the most about this practice?

In my opinion, the students liked the personalized approach and the opportunity to contribute to international research. Many of them participated in the final workshop, where we discussed the broader aspects of the food waste problem and presented the final results of the 7-day food waste challenge.

What were the key problems areas of this practice?

  1. The key problem was to persuade students to participate in this challenge, given its relatively lengthy duration (1 week) and the substantial effort required (capture of at least 6 pictures each day). Several students did not manage to complete the challenge, quitting their participation after 1 or 2 days. Strategies to address this concern are outlined in section 1.2.
  2. Picture quality and composition angle.

How can these elements be improved in the future?

  1. Perhaps, to make participation in this challenge mandatory for students by integrating it into a specific subject.
  2. Give clear instructions and regularly review the students’ pictures to facilitate timely adjustments as needed.

Is this practice replicable by other teachers in different countries? What factors should be considered while replicating this practice?

Yes, this practice has already been successfully implemented in various countries and holds potential for further adoption elsewhere. The methods of encouraging student participation in this challenge, while accounting for local circumstances, need to be thoroughly evaluated.

What was the most inspiring aspect for you while implementing this practice?

Working with students and seeing the final results.

SWOT Analysis


  • Actual reduction of food waste, as students become more aware about FW problem at the end of this practice.
  • Use of newly developed software to assess the amount of food waste on students’ plates. 
  • Implementation of a learning-by-doing approach to enhance critical and analytical thinking among students.


  • It was challenging to encourage student participation in the challenge due to its relatively lengthy duration (1 week) and the substantial effort required (capturing at least 6 pictures each day).
  • The voluntary nature of participation possibly introduced bias, as students already environmentally conscious were more likely to participate in the challenge compared to those less concerned about their environmental impact.
  • The research results might lack neutrality due to some participants intentionally altering their food waste production habits as a result of their participation in the research.
  • The human factor posed a significant issue as participants frequently forgot to take pictures, despite consistent reminders.
  • The analysis did not extensively address the potential impact of different types of food waste (e.g., vegetables or meat) on the outcomes. 


  • This activity has increased awareness and promoted behavioral changes to reduce food waste, encouraging students to make more sustainable decisions in their daily lives.
  • This activity can be easily replicated in other regions/countries and adapted for different stakeholders. 
  • The activity might be further developed, for example, a “sustainable diet challenge” could educate young individuals about environmentally friendly food choices, contributing to their knowledge of sustainable consumption.


  • When replicating this practice, analyzing the collected data might require the use of licensed software, which could pose difficulties due to limited accessibility.
  • The activity requires some (at least minimal) funding.

Case Study Info

Good Practice Title:


Meeting Date and Place:


Name of the Interviewee:

Marija Klõga

Gender and Age of The Interviewee:

Female, 39 years old

Position or Role of the Interviewee:


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