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  • University of Reading

From Waste to Value: How to Tackle Food Waste

Discover the causes and impact of food waste, and learn how you can tackle it on a personal, community, and national level.

12,534 enrolled on this course

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  • Duration

    3 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours
  • Digital upgrade

  • Accreditation

    AvailableMore info
The CPD Certification Service

This course has been certified by the CPD Certification Service as conforming to continuing professional development principles. Find out more.

Explore how combatting food waste and food loss can help the environment

Please note that a Spanish version of the course can be found here.

The significant contribution the food system makes to climate change is widely recognised, and consumers are increasingly concerned about food waste.

On this course, you’ll explore how you – as a consumer – can act and inspire others to reduce food waste effectively and sustainably. You’ll learn what food waste is, and why it matters, and gain practical information on how to be an agent of change both personally and politically.

You’ll discover how the circular economy provides a framework for discovering solutions to this issue, and hear from companies that are making a difference.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 1 second Across Europe, an estimated 240,000 tonnes of food are wasted every single day throughout, homes shops businesses, food production, and agriculture. That’s enough to feed the 820 million people who go hungry, twice over. And yet, we can all do something about it. From taking simple steps to reducing food waste in the home, to making changes and the way we shop, and putting pressure on our governments. This course will explore some of the challenges in tackling food waste with a proactive focus on what you can do.

Skip to 0 minutes and 35 seconds Find out about the commercial food production process, the environmental, social, and economic impacts of food waste, how a new circular economy model can help, and meet the businesses who are making step changes in the food industry. We’ll equip you with knowledge, understanding, and practical ideas so you can become an agent of change. By making small and big changes across your home and community, you can help transform waste into value.


  • Week 1

    What is food waste and why should we care about it?

    • Welcome

      Welcome to the course, meet the team and discover what you'll be learning about.

    • Why is food waste important?

      Discover the disturbing statistics that show how much food we waste and consider the implications for society.

    • What can be done about food waste?

      Fresh ways of looking at waste disposal and supply chains that will make a real difference.

    • Review and reflect

      Take personal responsibility for making a difference and find out how you can start today.

  • Week 2

    Making changes - at home and in your community

    • Welcome back

      Tips to help you prevent waste at home and why date labelling causes waste problems.

    • Making changes at home

      Re-purposing waste to make food and other products, and re-thinking traditional ways of preparing meals.

    • Making changes in your community

      Discover the wide range of initiatives that are making it easier to share food locally.

    • Review and reflect

      Resolve to make a difference at home and/or in your local community.

  • Week 3

    Making changes at the national level - where you shop and how you vote

    • Welcome back

      Look beyond home and the local community to what is being done nationally and internationally about food waste.

    • Changes at supermarkets and other retailers

      Help ensure the places you get your food from are acting responsibly and reducing the amount they waste.

    • Change at the national level

      Discover what the EU and national governments are doing to reduce food waste and the numerous organisations that are helping to put policy into practice.

    • Review and reflect

      Decide how you want to make a difference.

Who is this accredited by?

The CPD Certification Service
The CPD Certification Service:

The CPD Certification Service was established in 1996 and is the leading independent CPD accreditation institution operating across industry sectors to complement the CPD policies of professional and academic bodies.

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

Add to Wishlist to be emailed when new dates are announced

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Assess the causes of food loss and food waste and assess the effect on the planet in terms of food security, sustainability and climate change
  • Reflect on how changes in the way we shop, cook and store food can help reduce food waste
  • Compare the practices of different retailers and discover the innovations that are helping them to reduce waste
  • Explore your own personal contribution to the problem and solutions offered by waste hierarchy and the circular economy
  • Debate how to produce actionable changes that can make an impact on your own community
  • Synthesise the policies of national governments and the EU and help improve the sustainability of the food system in your country

Who is the course for?

This course would appeal to environmentally conscious citizens who are worried about the way the Earth’s resources are currently being used and want to get a better understanding of the problem in order to take action to tackle it.

This would include employees in the food sector, restaurant owners and chefs, and concerned consumers.

If you’re looking to expand your knowledge on this topic, you might also find of interest the following EIT Food courses on sustainable food production and circular economy principles:

Who will you learn with?

I am a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development at the University of Reading. I am a food scientist interested in developing new healthy and sustainable foods.

I am a food scientist and working at RethinkResource, a agency for innovation and upcycling. I am interested in a sustainable foodsystem and solutions how we can get there.

I'm a food engineer involved in EIT Food projects working in the School of Agriculture, Policy & Development at the University of Reading. I've experience working in industry-academia collaborations.

Who developed the course?

EIT Food

EIT Food is Europe’s leading food initiative, working to make the food system more sustainable, healthy and trusted.

University of Reading

The University of Reading has a reputation for excellence in teaching, research and enterprise.

Endorsers and supporters

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Rethink Resource logo

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What's included?

EIT Food are offering everyone who joins this course a free digital upgrade, so that you can experience the full benefits of studying online for free. This means that you get:

  • Unlimited access to this course
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
  • Tests to validate your learning
  • A PDF Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you’re eligible
  • Learning on FutureLearn

    Your learning, your rules

    • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
    • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
    • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

    Join a global classroom

    • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
    • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
    • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

    Map your progress

    • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
    • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
    • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

    Want to know more about learning on FutureLearn? Using FutureLearn

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    Get a taste of this course

    Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join:

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