Harper Adams University

Harper Adams University is based in Newport, Shropshire.  Its philosophy is ‘As the population grows, so do our demands on the planet. Managing this resource has never been so important.’

Harper is tackling the future development of our planet’s food production, processing, animal sciences, engineering, land management and sustainable business.



The Catering department at Harper Adams is an in house operation running four outlets across the campus, including the dining room for the 400 catered students. As the Sustainability Lead for The University Caterers Organisation (TUCO), Harper Adams took a stand to measure and reduce their food waste and to help communicate the plate waste element, created posters sharing food waste facts with their students.


Food waste at the university is separated from  general waste into two different coloured bins –green for plate waste and yellow for kitchen waste. The waste collector sends weekly reports on food waste volumes. This enables tracking  to show where the waste is arising, and which audiences to target, eg consumers (staff and students) or  operators (catering staff).


Share your savings with customers so they can help to reduce food waste too.


“Highlighting the volumes of waste so that our students relate to, such as. the weight of a cow in a week or tractor in a month, helps to share the message and increase engagement.”

David Nuttall
David Nuttall, Catering Manager, Harper Adams
and Sustainability Lead TUCO


One initiative focused on consumers, particularly on leftovers. After the evening dinner service, any leftover food unable to be reused is available to students to take away for free.

Leftovers Leaflet


The main focus has been on catered students who have already paid for their meal. Due to the servery design, students can only come through once, meaning they often have the mind-set to take as much as possible.

Harper Adams created a poster (pictured right) displaying the amount of plate waste for the previous week which is converted into approx. number of meals for easy visualisation. This is displayed on digital screens, as posters in the refectory and on our social media pages.


In the refectory there is a device to record the number of students  using the service. This allows the chefs to know how many people they still have to cater for, allowing them to better judge how much food to cook.

Catering staff are provided with meals from any surplus after each service.

Waste Poster

Did you know, across the HAFS sector the equivalent of 1 out of every 6 meals is wasted. We all need to be Guardians of Grub to rise up against food waste.