A woman sorting food for reuse

Waste Resources and Action Programme


Swansea University’s Commercial Services team were commissioned by Waste Resources and Action Programme (WRAP) to support the development of their partnership model for surplus food redistribution.

WRAP is a national programme tasked with reducing and, where possible, reusing food waste produced in various sectors including manufacturing, hospitality and retail.

The Challenge

The Commercial Services team were tasked with:

  1. setting up a pilot food redistribution scheme with Morrisons supermarkets across Swansea and Cardiff
  2. producing an operational model and handbook for organisations to utilise when setting up their own food redistribution scheme
  3. providing advice on how student volunteers can assist in similar schemes

Meeting the Challenge

The team enlisted student volunteers and drew upon support from across Swansea University utilising expertise in areas such as waste management, food sciences, sustainability, communications, and engagement. This approach enabled the team to:

  • identify and bring together key stakeholders and potential partners for the schemes in Cardiff and Swansea
  • engage the local community and Local Area Coordination teams to help make surplus food waste distribution a focus for engaging with socially isolated members of the community
  • run a pilot of the food waste redistribution scheme in Swansea that involved WRAP, Swansea University’s Discovery voluntary scheme, Morrisons and a number of recipient charities
  • produce a detailed framework of operations and ‘how to’ guides for future surplus food redistribution schemes

Successful Outcomes

The team from Swansea University delivered a successful pilot and helped WRAP establish a sustainable model for the delivery of similar surplus food redistribution partnership schemes.

Following completion of the pilot project a weekly “Waste Free Wednesday” community engagement event was established that has to date served thousands of local people on a ‘pay as you feel’ basis.

"The potential for using student volunteers to support schemes on a Wales and UK-wide basis is real and worthwhile, but support from their universities is important – to provide facilities, knowledge and resources. We believe many universities throughout the UK want to support their local communities, and by making some relatively small steps they can make a significant difference." Christine Watson MBE, Director Discovery Volunteering

If you have a project that you think could benefit from Swansea University’s involvement then please contact us