Hot school meals and sustainability

A positive lesson to our children in reuse and recycling

Letter of the Day
Letter of the Day

Sir, – Having worked in a Deis school, I oversaw the introduction of hot school meals in 2020.

Anecdotal evidence would suggest that there are huge benefits to the provision of hot school meals, particularly in less advantaged areas. Improved attention, less negative behaviour and increased attendance patterns have been observed in children.

I believe the scheme has the potential to be life-changing but feel that all aspects of the scheme have yet to be completely ironed out.

Rolling out school meals to half a million children daily will create an enormous waste issue locally for schools and environmentally for the state. Evidence in the US suggests that 15 per cent of waste is generated by school meals.


That, in basic terms in Ireland, equates to 75,000 school meals per week. I know from colleagues that it is one reason why some schools may be reticent about adopting the school meals programme.

However, there are well-researched solutions. The English Market in Cork, under the Cork Urban Soil Project, has been successfully bio-digesting food waste into reusable soil in a short period of time for a number of years.

If every participating school had access to bio-digesters it would solve the problem of waste overnight and provide a positive lesson to our children in reuse and recycling.

This would require a major financial investment by the Departments of Environment and Education but would indicate, for once, that a Government has provided a long-term plan to support a wonderfully beneficial scheme. – Yours, etc,


Former school principal,

Scoil Cholmcille SNS,


Co Dublin.