University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Why manage school food waste? Here are 4 great reasons.

Cartoon person tossing trash into bin

Did you know that a whopping 1/3 of all food produced in the US is wasted? At the same time, 1 in 7 people regularly go hungry. As school nutrition professionals, you know that schools are a critical safety net for children to get their nutritional needs met. Up to 7 billion school meals are served each year, yet school nutrition programs often generate a lot of waste that ends up in the landfill. So why should we care?

Here are four great reasons to reduce food waste in school nutrition programs.

  1. Keeping food waste out of landfills reduces emission of methane and greenhouse gases.
  2. Hungry students can get more to eat through redistribution of uneaten, usable food.
  3. Food waste reduction efforts are opportunities to educate on where food comes from, good citizenship, and community.
  4. Finally, cost savings is a big one! You may be able to save money or at the very least, maximize the use of your nutrition program dollars.

So what can we do to start preventing food waste? We’ll cover ideas in the next few blog posts.