Recycling, Food Waste/Food Recovery and Composting: Waste Reduction in K-12 School Cafeterias


Don't Trash It - Sort It!

 

Check out these two webinars (produced Fall 2016) on the different ways schools can reduce food waste and reduce trash in the cafeteria:

 

Share It - Don't Trash It!

(Click here to view the webinar video)

  • How schools can contribute to food recovery by setting up Share Tables and collecting leftover food for composting

  • Find out more about the EPA Food Recovery Hierarchy

  • Let’s make the connection between Share Tables and food insecurity facing 47% of Maine's K-12 students

  • Get up-to-date USDA and State of Maine guidelines for Share Tables, Offer vs. Serve and donating food

  • How to get your school ready to begin sorting trash in the cafeteria to collect recyclables and leftover food for composting

  • Includes a School Resource Guide listing organizations involved in Food Waste/Food Recovery efforts

 

Compost It - Don't Trash It!

(Click here to view the webinar video)

  • Learn how to set up, operate and monitor cafeteria trash sorting programs to collect recyclables and leftover food for composting

  • Discover the benefits of recovering leftover food and recyclables: reduce cafeteria trash by 70% to 80%, the potential to save money on hauling costs, leftover food stays out of landfills and service learning opportunities for students

  • How to address worries about odor and storage and other in-house concerns that can become barriers to a successful program

  • Includes a School Resource Guide listing organizations involved in Food Waste/Food Recovery efforts


Not everything that we call trash is really trash. A big part of “trash” consists of resources that are waiting to be recycled. For example, left-over food is definitely not trash – and neither are the other items in our trash cans made of plastic, cardboard, metal, paper and glass. These are the materials we want to keep out of our landfills and incinerators.


Let’s look at the trash in a school cafeteria. Over half of a school’s daily trash is generated here. When you take a closer look, it turns out that roughly 50% of that “trash” consists of recyclable items and roughly 25% is food waste that can be composted. When students and staff sort their leftovers into recycling bins and composting buckets, the volume of trash is significantly reduced – on average, by 75%.


Schools have a unique opportunity to promote environmental literacy and stewardship and engage the next generation of environmental leaders. Students have the opportunity for Service Learning in a hands-on program that connects science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) with best practices of sustainability.


Click here for more resources on this program.