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Waste 2 Worth (W2W) is a Vocational Education Training (VET) Erasmus+ initiative that will demonstrate the relevance of food waste streams in the fight against climate change and aid in the development of circular and bio-economies across Europe. We will bring learners/SMEs on a pathway to potential innovation and circular / bio-economy development opportunities on how to reduce waste and turn it into a valuable resource.



Food waste is a significant problem in the European Union (EU), with an estimated 88 million tonnes of food wasted annually. The issue not only has environmental and economic consequences, but food waste is a major contributor to food insecurity in the EU.  From an environmental standpoint, food waste contributes to climate change by releasing methane, a potent greenhouse gas, during decomposition. According to a report published by the European Commission in 2019, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the food and drink sector account for around 42% of the total food waste generated in the EU. This translates to approximately 47 million tonnes of food waste per year. The report also highlights that ~88% of this waste is avoidable, meaning that it could have been prevented with better management practices. This highlights the need for SMEs to adopt sustainable practices and reduce food waste to address this issue.

Food SMEs are essential players in the food sector, contributing significantly to the economy and creating employment opportunities. However, food SMEs face various challenges, including the issue of food waste, which affects their bottom line and contributes to environmental degradation.

The objective of Waste 2 Worth is to provide tailored support to VET bodies, food SMEs, bio-economy stakeholders & regional/agricultural agencies to increase awareness of the impact of food waste on the environment & economy. By creating an awareness & ultimately a mapping of avoidable waste within food SMEs, we will encourage innovative thinking into how they, by collaborating in a circular way in the wider community, can better use these wastes creating worth & economic gain.

The five experienced pan-European partners will collaboratively develop & create tools and resources to fill the skills and knowledge gap among VET educators and Food SMEs that will equip and empower them, to recognise the connection between food waste valorisation and urgent climate action and how both target groups with knowledge & awareness, can develop and implement transferable skills (collaboration & problem-solving) and tools to address and improve the food waste challenge becoming changemakers of and for Europe

Project Activities

Group one results: Awareness & Exploration

Result 01

Waste 2 Worth Good Practice Compendium

This is an awareness and inspiration-building resource that investigates and publishes Good Practice case studies where operations exist that demonstrate the correct use of food waste streams in food SMEs with a focus on zero-waste and circularity.

Result 02

Waste 2 Worth SME Food Waste Community Exploration Guide

This guide and its methodology will equip VET educators with the tools to guide and encourage learners to become engaged in an applied research and learning activity. SME learners will consequently acquire new research skills and the ability to conduct a mapping research activity.

Result 03

Regional Community Maps of Waste Streams

The mapping activity will give insight via a physical blueprint to each participating community on where and what waste products are available within the community and thus act as a starting block for creating community opportunities in terms of bio- & circular economies.

Group Two results: Waste2Worth Circularity VET OERs for Food SMEs

Result 01

Open education resources – 12 modules

This will be a suite of ready-to-use teaching resources made up of 12 rigorously researched and forward-thinking MODULES to be used by VET/HE educators & individual Food SMEs. They include lesson plans/frameworks, audio/video materials, evaluation guides & more. The course is complemented by a Learner’s Workbook.

Result 02

Waste 2 Worth Educator’s Guide

This guide will present the most flexible & impactful innovative pedagogic approaches to waste valorisation/circularity & transversal skills such as active participation & climate action. Focusing on strategies that are appropriate to both in-person, hybrid & digital classrooms, each pedagogy will be carefully reviewed for its potential to help Food SME learners engage with, study & develop solutions for Climate-change problems locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.

Group 3 Results: Teaching Regional Collaborative Design Thinking Toolkit

Result 01

Facilitators Design Thinking Framework & Handbook

Now that each partner region has explored, discovered & mapped the waste-streams in their community & SMEs have access to tailored training, this result will provide a framework and guide for W2W Regional Collaborative Design Thinking (DT), that will involve all 3 Target Groups & beneficiaries, with a focus on developing practical solutions to food waste/waste streams that are providing challenges to SMEs in the regions.

Result 02

Design Thinking Workshops

These workshops are instigated to promote local solutions to food waste challenges within the food sectors. The aim is that all target groups are motivated to encourage collaboration and creativity via the DT process so that they learn from their peers and develop solutions together – consequently become changemakers in climate action.

Our Target Groups:

To be equipped with new and innovative content that supports the training of SMEs and local food communities.

To evolve as key players in Europe’s food future, embracing sustainability and waste valorisation.

To integrate sustainable practices into traditional food production and engage in circular economic models.

To facilitate the adoption of sustainable farming and food production methods under the EU Farm to Fork Strategy.