FoodLabHome is a citizen science project in which school students study their own households to measure food waste (FW) and implement interventions to reduce FW-related greenhouse gas emissions.
FoodLabHome addresses food waste (FW) as an important, but thus far largely neglected cause of greenhouse gas emissions through an innovative and participatory pedagogical intervention. Students of different school types research how FW in their households is relevant to the climate, develop effective intervention strategies, and measurably contribute to climate protection through reductions of FW.
The project objective is developing an innovative and participatory educational approach based on the principles of research-based learning. Students at general and vocational schools turn into researchers and their households into laboratories. The primary target group of the project consists of young people about to finish their studies at general or vocational schools, who participate in the intervention and share their experiences with the other members of their households. The pedagogic intervention is accompanied by various transfer mechanisms to also reach the broader public. By involving educators and offering trainings for multipliers working in education, the innovative educational approach developed here will be implemented more broadly and made available to the wider community of climate educators.
In the pedagogic intervention, students research the occurrence, composition, and causes of FW in their own households and analyze their relevance for the climate. In a second step, they develop and test ways of reducing FW in private households. To do so, they make use of nudging measures, which have proven effective intervention techniques in other consumption areas. Afterwards, they reflect the efficiency and the potential of intervention strategies to prevent FW as a contribution to climate protection.
FoodLabHome is carried out by the Institute of Sustainable and Environmental Chemistry (Didactics of Natural Sciences (Didaktik der Naturwissenschaften, DiNaW) and Resource Efficiency (ResEff)) and the Institute of Environmental and Sustainability Communication (SuCo2 group) at Leuphana University of Lüneburg in collaboration with the Institute of Vocational Education and Work Studies (Economic Education and Sustainable Consumption (ALÖNK) and Education for Sustainable Diet and Food Science (Bildung für Nachhaltige Ernährung und Lebensmittelwissenschaft, B!NERLE)) at Technische Universität Berlin.
We are thankful for the expertise, critical feedback and support provided by our advisory board members.