Skip to main content

School of Food Science and Nutrition Blueprint Progress

Blog Posts
Highlights 2021-2022
Sustainable Curriculum
Sustainable Labs

Spotlight on the School of Food Science and Nutrition Blueprint team: embedding sustainability in the curriculum, sustainable consumption and sustainable labs! 

In 2020, staff at the School of Food Science and Nutrition initiated development of their Blueprint programme to tackle sustainability within the school.  Involving and engaging both staff and students in the school in its development, their Blueprint was officially approved in May 2021.   

The team’s actions since May are testament to the impact that a Blueprint programme can have in a short period of time. 

What is in their Blueprint? 

The school’s Blueprint vision is to become the leaders in sustainability for Food and Nutrition. In the workshop stages of developing their Blueprint with the Sustainability service they created a 12 point action plan to help them achieve this vision.  

The plan includes embedding sustainability in their curriculum, considering sustainability in purchasing, becoming energy and water efficient by 2026 and recycling 100% of the school’s waste. They also pledged to ensure students play a key role in achieving their sustainability goals.  

Whilst they are still in the early stages of implementing their Blueprint, they have already made significant gains, not least achieving Bronze certification in the LEAF sustainable labs scheme. Congratulations to the School of Food Science and Nutrition! 

In this blog we’ll give you an overview of some of the key actions that they have taken so far, which might give you some ideas of your own. 

Embedding sustainability in the curriculum:  

Building resilient, nutritious and climate friendly food systems is a global challenge that the School of Food and Nutrition contributes to through its teaching and research.   

Part of their Blueprint plan focuses on embedding sustainability in the curriculum.  The MSc Sustainable Food Systems programme is at the forefront of this, and students on the course this year will be researching and creating plant based milk alternatives; examining their nutritional value and environmental impact.  

Work over the coming year will look to expand this impact across other programmes to ensure graduates gain the skills and knowledge to contribute to sustainable food solutions. 

Embedding circular economy principles (sustainable purchasing!):  

Another action in the Blueprint addresses sustainable purchasing and reducing waste.  The team began by identifying sources of waste within the school and were able to not only reduce this significantly, but also save money by doing so. 

As a result of their Blueprint work, the school have begun donating expired equipment to be used in clinical services for practice experiments.  This has saved over 3,000 pieces of plastic going to waste.  They have also been donating unused and expired first aid equipment to a charity who use it to teach first aid basics.  

They began using a second hand lab equipment selling company, Richmond Scientific, to both buy and sell used lab equipment, saving both resources and money.  

Lastly, they introduced a new policy for lab coat use.  Previously new joiners in the school were provided with new lab coats. Old lab coats that were no longer needed were disposed of, even if they were in good condition.  They identified this as an unnecessary waste stream and changed to laundering lab coats rather than buying new. By doing this they have not only reduced their carbon footprint, but also reduced costs. 

Increasing recycling rates:  

Although reducing waste should always be the first priority, recycling is also an important part of sustainable practices.   

The School of Food Science and Nutrition Blueprint recognised the importance of engaging students, and two of their third year students, Julia Lamb and Nivedya Vipin Raj, created a set of cartoons to help boost recycling rates across the department. 

Student designed cartoon promoting recycling  

Wondering how your lab, school or service could become more sustainable?  

Blueprint is our sustainability programme designed to help faculties, schools and services identify the impacts they have, and make changes that help to support the University’s sustainability commitments.  If your school or service already has a Blueprint, why not see if you can get involved in helping to deliver it?  If it doesn’t, you could consider joining the staff sustainability community, becoming a Staff Sustainability Architect and / or starting a Blueprint programme for your team. 

If you have items that are no longer needed but could find a new home, a great start point is our Reuse@Leeds scheme.  You can also use this to find items that you need.  For recycling, we have a guide to help you find a means of recycling all kinds of materials and equipment. 

If you’re interested in improving sustainability in labs, you can join our Sustainable Labs network, as well as finding out how you can obtain LEAF sustainable labs certification. 


We use the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework to guide our activity. Our sustainable labs work is linked to the following SDGs:

  • Goal 4: Quality Education
  • Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production

Find out more about our impact on the SDGs.

United Nation Sustainable Development Goal 4: Quality education United Nation Sustainable Development Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production