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ZERO Food Waste Challenge 2022

HAS green academy is holding the first national ZERO Food Waste Challenge, in collaboration with Aeres University of Applied Sciences, Inholland University of Applied Sciences, Fontys University of Applied Sciences, Food Valley Circular, the Jong Leren Eten Foundation, the Food Waste Free United Foundation and the Rabobank. The challenge starts on 13 September.

food waste

The aim of the ZERO Food Waste Challenge is to increase awareness among students in higher education, throughout the Netherlands, about the amount of food needlessly wasted in schools, institutions, and in the food industry. The students are challenged to work together to devise and implement solutions for this issue, which will be another step towards achieving the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goal 12.3: a 50% reduction in food waste by 2030.

Brabant edition

Last year, HAS green academy held the first Brabant edition of the ZERO Food Waste Challenge. It involved a relatively small group of students from 4 universities of applied sciences.  “We learned a lot from this Brabant edition,” says Antien Zuidberg, professor in Design Methods in Food at HAS. “We’re using our previous experiences for the national edition.”

In this Brabant challenge, the professor set up a food waste action plan, together with colleagues, students and partners, for HAS green academy. “We hope this action plan will reduce food waste at HAS in Den Bosch by 50% in 3 years. The first step towards this goal is to look specifically at our own food waste and take appropriate action. , We’re also actively incorporating food waste as a theme in education and research.”

Professor Antien Zuidberg: "We hope this action plan will reduce food waste at HAS in Den Bosch by 50% in 3 years."

Online masterclasses

The partners will launch the national challenge on 13 September with a physical kick-off meeting, during which students will be able to follow a series of online masterclasses, consisting of webinars and SMALL challenges.

Antien: “The masterclasses will be given in the evening and in English. This makes it easy for students to join in from all over the Netherlands. The meetings will look at, among other things, the current situation with regard to food waste, and workinfoog methods to achieve innovative and working solutions.”

SMALL and BIG Challenges

In addition to the masterclasses with SMALL challenges, students can also work on a BIG challenge from a company, institution or university. “We’re formulating a number of generic assignments for our own university of applied sciences, but we’re also compiling specific BIG challenges from companies, institutions and other universities.

Some examples of last year's challenges: encouraging young people to use food sparingly (Voedingscentrum), finding a use for oyster mushroom stem waste (BeefyGreen), and measuring HAS' Food Waste Print.”

All participants will receive a certificate at the end of the challenge, and the group of students or student who devises the food waste project with the most impact will receive the ZERO Food waste challenge Award. This award will be presented on or around 12 March 2023 by the Food Waste Free United Foundation.


Sustainable Development Goals

  • Sustainable Development Goal 3: Good Health and Well-being
  • Sustainable Development Goal 4: Quality Education
  • Sustainable Development Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities
  • Sustainable Development Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production
  • Sustainable Development Goal 13: Climate action
  • Sustainable Development Goal 17: Partnerships for the goals