The meals could be destined for landfill site (Picture: PA/Getty)
More than 15 million school dinners are set to be thrown away because of England’s third national lockdown, a waste company has warned.
Schools will be forced to discard a full week’s worth of dinners that had been ordered in advance when the government was insisting that children could return to classes despite a surge in coronavirus cases.
Now – after some children came into primary schools for just one day – the pre ordered meals face being chucked away. National waste collections company Business Waste is tasked with collecting the mountains of ‘perfectly good although ultimately perishable food.’
Spokesperson Mark Hall explained: ‘This is a national disaster, the government have well and truly let the schools down.
‘They have allowed them to open and prepare for the weeks ahead, which of course means stocking the fridges high for this weeks school dinners and now those dinners are going in the bin.’
He continued: ‘The schools simply don’t have the freezers required to store all the perishable food and that unfortunately will mean the vast majority is to be thrown away.
‘The amount of food waste caused by a sudden lockdown is staggering – if they had been given warning then it could have been sent to other places, but now food banks will be overwhelmed and they typically only take non perishable goods’.
A school worker collects pupils’ plates after eating in an East London canteen in September (Picture: AFP)
The last minute decision to close all school, announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson last night, followed weeks of repeated promises that schools would open as planned.
Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that children who receive free school meals will still get them in lockdown.
BusinessWaste.co.uk said three million school meals are served each day, each costing £2 and typically ordered a week in advance.
Mr Hall added that the vast majority of schools did not have dedicated food waste bins, which could divert the food waste to an anaerobic digestion plant and said that instead, it will end up rotting in a landfill.
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