GOAL: Reduce the packaging and food waste associated with school meals.
- Bulk Serving: Move from a pre-packaged serving model to a bulk serving model.
- Audit the current waste situation: What and how much is being thrown away? Why are certain foods being thrown away? Enlist students to help with this analysis. Do the schools have composting and recycling programs? Do all schools employ the less wasteful “offer versus serve” model? Many products brought from home in packed lunches have excessive packaging as well. Increasing the average daily participation rate in the school meal program can have a positive impact on reducing the overall amount of waste associate with school lunches.
- Work with the schools to implement waste reduction programs:
- The Northeast Recycling Council outlines a step-by-step program to reduce food and cafeteria service waste (PDF). NERC claims that School districts can reduce waste 40–60% by implementing policies that reduce the amount of uneaten food, reduce or eliminate disposables, address food prep waste and packaging, and implement recycling and composting.
- Another step-by-step program (PDF) aimed specifically at students and teachers:
The Davis Joint Unified School District realized a net savings of $4,695 in the 2000/2001 school year by implementing “offer versus serve” in three schools, separating organic food scraps from the cafeteria for vermicomposting, and by using recyclable trays.