Georgetown Students Raise Food Waste Awareness in Qatar Foundation Through QUBE Collaboration
Students at Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) have been tackling the challenge of food waste by introducing their campus community to “upcycling” through a collaboration with Qatar Upcycling & Biodegradables Enterprise (QUBE), an environmental technologies company that offers on-site mobile units that turn food waste into compost. The project was launched by the GU-Q Sustainability Club, and aimed to raise awareness of food waste by using the school cafeteria to stage sustainable food waste solutions for GU-Q, and Education City.
Not to be confused with recycling, upcycling, according to Salma Hassan, president of the Sustainability Club, is the process of transforming waste into new materials of better quality or use. And at GU-Q, she noted that having the machine on campus “sparked important conversations within students and staff on the importance of reducing our consumption as well as finding solutions for our food waste.”
Food waste is a huge concern for Qatar, with studies showing that over half of the nation’s garbage is composed of food waste. This is particularly critical for a country that imports so much of its food resources. For nine days, club members volunteered their time to collect food waste from the cafeteria to deposit into the QUBE machine, which turned the food waste into soil in just 24 hours, reducing food waste by 90%. Throughout the duration of the collaboration 223kg of food waste was converted into nutrient rich soil that was then used to feed plants on the grounds of the university.
Nodoka Nakamichi, co-founder and director for Marketing & Public Relations of QUBE said: “This was a great collaboration which allowed us to work together with GU-Q students who were eager to learn about the machine and upcycling. We felt that an awareness regarding reducing carbon footprint through composting was raised.” The Education City community was also invited to participate and to support the initiative by visiting GU-Q to see the machine in action.
The student club collaboration is in line with GU-Q’s commitment to food security and environmental sustainability, which was also demonstrated through the university’s pioneering research on food waste in Qatar under the 3-year SAFE-Q project (NPRP 7-1103-5-156) funded by the Qatar National Research Fund. , funded by the Qatar National Research Fund.
Georgetown University in Qatar
Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) is an additional location of Georgetown University, based in Education City in Doha. The University offers a four year undergraduate program in international affairs leading to the Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service (BSFS) degree. Students have the opportunity to select one of four majors, a minor, and one of three certificates.