Food waste is such a HUGE problem on so many levels, and it always gives us hope when we see the next generation stepping into the role of affecting positive change in this area. One of the best ways to support and facilitate reducing food waste is through educational institutions, which is why we’re taking a moment today to recognize some programs across the country that have kids and schools taking the lead to reduce food waste, as well as their carbon footprint.
1.The Katonah-Lewisboro School District, New York
This district is getting students to use less, recycle, and compost food waste to meet its goal to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by the end of the 2014-15 school year. As of the 2012-13 school year the district had reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 13.5%. The district is on track to meet its goal with water-filling stations to cut down on plastic water bottles and 18,000 lbs of food waste has been diverted away from landfills due to composting.
- The Orchard School, South Burlington, Vermont
This school is just one of 100 in Vermont whose composting program is saving fifty pounds of food waste a week, complying with a 2012 state law. There is a composting table, signs, and most of all education that is directed at helping kids make the right choice when theiy are done with their meal. “Kids waste a lot of food,” said John Powell, a school outreach coordinator for the Chittenden Solid Waste District. CSWD says up to 50 percent of food in school cafeterias can become scraps. But the Orchard School’s composting program keeps about 50 pounds of food waste out of the landfill weekly.
“Schools are the largest restaurants in the world,” Powell said. “Schools serve more food than anywhere else. It has an enormous impact on the amount of material that could be composted and should be composted.”
3. Chewonki Foundation’s Zero Waste Challenge, Maine
Students at Westbrook and Gorham Middle Schools participate in this challenge, where they are charged with helping their schools save money and resources by evaluating waste streams and creating plans to reduce waste. Teams are then judged on their plans and receive $1,000 prizes for their efforts. One plan has reduced the waste in their school cafeteria by 94 percent, and where custodians used to throw out eight-12 bags of trash each day, they are now only tossing one, on average.
- Truman State University, Missouri
This college is one of nine across the country announced to participate in the EPA Food Recovery Challenge. This program aims to cut food waste and increase recycling, and Truman State has started with its dinner service. The program helps teach organizations like Truman State leaner purchasing practices and donating to hunger relief.
Speaking of leaner purchasing practices, someone ought to tell them about BerryBeeze! They could put a couple in their cafeteria kitchen walk-ins. Do you know of a local educational program that is doing it’s part to fight food waste? Leave a comment and tell us about it, and we’ll help draw some social media attention to them!