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More than 30 million students participate in the National School Lunch Program every day. It may not come as a surprise to hear that those same students generate over $600 million in food waste every year. Making an effort to reduce food waste will not only save your operation money, but can also help feed hungry kids and minimize the impact your school has on the environment.
30% of food never gets eaten worldwide.
40% of food is wasted in the United States.
There are many ways schools can reduce food waste and teach students about the impact it has on the environment and in their community. It only takes a bit of imagination and a better understanding of the issues and possible solutions. Many schools have implemented new service models - such as a cafeteria Share Table or Share Cart - where students can donate unwanted food to their hungry classmates while also helping reduce food waste.
The Share Table concept is as straightforward as it sounds. Students simply drop off their unwanted food and beverages on the table and pick up an equally healthy option instead. Students are free to take anything they want from the table at no additional cost.
Pre-packaged or unopened wrapped food and beverages. Examples include:
Unopened yogurt, cheese sticks, crackers, cereal bars and milk
Wrapped whole fruits and vegetables
Unwrapped whole fruits with an inedible peel (ex. oranges or bananas)
Considering that about half of the country's public school children live in poverty and that 40% of the United States food supply is wasted, it's a no-brainer that a Food Share Program should be in every school. It not only teaches kids not to throw away perfectly good food and add it to the national waste stream, but they're learning that it can be used to help someone in need – giving them a little spark of community service.
The HUBERT® Share Cart is a mobile option that allows you to easily relocate the share station to best optimize foot traffic in your cafeteria. Hungry classmates will appreciate the easy access to extra food. And since the cart is open to all students, there isn't a stigma attached to it – giving them access to the food they need without the added pressure of worrying if their classmates noticed.
Several schools are taking their HUBERT® Share Cart leftovers and donating them to local non-profit organizations. Learn more here!
Interested in joining our efforts to eliminate food waste? Speak to one of our education experts today to learn how!