Using Workshops to Engage Key Stage Three Children in Disposing Food Packaging Sustainably

Victoria Norton, Niki Alexi, Stella Lignou*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Sustainable approaches are generally on the rise; yet clear and accessible information relating to appropriate food packaging disposal is typically lacking. Children need to learn sustainable behaviour from an early age; therefore, targeted education is considered a viable option to inform future generations on sustainable food packaging behaviour. This paper explores children’s behaviour, preferences and knowledge towards food packaging and the role of workshop-based activities in modulating everyday sustainable food packaging behaviour. Two hundred and thirty children (11–14 years old) partook in food packaging workshops involving interactive activities. Children’s most common food packaging issues related to cost, excessive packaging, confusion, motivations, no clear labels, bins being full and no nearby bins. Metal, glass and mixed materials were associated with disposal-related challenges, whereas drinks and fresh produce impacted buying choices from a food packaging perspective. Overall, quiz performance was positive: children were able to identify correctly various food packaging symbols and disposal practices for different food items. In addition, the workshops had a significant impact on learning something new and changing future behaviour. Accordingly, workshops provided an effective approach to engage children in sustainable food packaging behaviour. Future work should focus on strategies to motivate this generation via digital tools to encourage appropriate food packaging behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3542
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023


  • children
  • education
  • food packaging
  • sustainability
  • workshops


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