The pie charts show the percentage each type of lunchroom waste represents.
Chart 1 shows that food waste represents most of the waste in the lunchroom.
By sorting, recovering and composting, look at how much we have reduced the amount of waste going to the landfill!
Chart 2 shows the five components – Recoverable Food, Liquids, Recycling, Landfill and Food Scraps.
It is often surprising how much perfectly good, uneaten food ends up on the share table. This food used to go to the landfill.
Too many students either take or are served food that they don’t eat.
We now collect the food using safe food handling guidelines and offer it to students who are still hungry and sometimes donate it to local food pantries.
According to “Leftover Cuisine,” a food rescue organization, one meal is calibrated as 1.2 lbs. of recovered food.
We use precious resources to grow, process, package, store, and distribute food. All of that is wasted if the food doesn’t get eaten. Therefore, the best thing for the environmental is to prevent food from getting wasted in the first place.
The official U.S. Food Waste Reduction Goal is to reduce food waste by 50% by 2030. Climate scientists say that we cannot limit the warming of the planet to 1.5 degrees Celsius if we don’t achieve this goal to reduce food waste.
So, to do our part in moderating the effects of climate change, we need to reduce the food we waste by 50%.
Food Waste per student is a factor that allows us to track how much we reduce food waste. (We annualize the number to make it more tangible)
There are two reasons that food waste is bad for the environment. First, it is filling up our landfills and it creates significant greenhouse gas emissions in the form of methane, a gas many, many times more potent than Carbon Dioxide.
The second reason is even more important. It considers the resources used to grow and produce food… land, water, fertilizer and energy used to run the tractors and other farm equipment and also the processing and packaging of food and transportation to stores and restaurants… all of that is wasted when we waste food.
Here is a list of the resources used in the United States to produce food that gets wasted:
So, as we divert food waste from the landfill and reduce food waste per student, we are reducing greenhouse gas emissions and saving resources. And we can calculate these reductions in Metric Tons of C02 and see what that means using the Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator | US EPA . Check out what your school is doing for the planet!