Updated: Feb 11, 2022
Because of COVID, free breakfast and lunch for students was integrated into schools. But in order to get a free breakfast at North Scott, students need to pick out a snack and a fruit. Most students only want their Pop-Tart or bagel, so they grab an apple and get their free breakfast. The moment they reach a trash can, that apple is already at the bottom. The amount of fruit wasted at our school is upsetting.
While the rule makes sense, students will always find a workaround. Because of this, the amount of food wasted has increased even more. World Wildlife did a study on 46 schools across eight states to look at food wasted. They found that on average, “[e]ach of the 46 schools averaged 39.2 pounds of food waste per student per year.” These numbers can be used as a rough average for the United States.
COVID changed a lot for schools. North Scott used to have a community tray to let students drop off food they didn’t want or eat for others to take. They no longer have it because of contamination issues with COVID. Caden Romero, as part of the Student Government, also tried to add a compost bin a few years ago for students to drop off their food waste. They would take that compost and give it to Alan Shepard to put in their gardens growing food. Unfortunately, they were unable to gain enough support.
Because students don't want the food they are required to take, more often than not, juice, fruit cups, and fruit are thrown in the trash and are no longer viable to eat anymore. Some schools put community trays in cafeterias where students can drop off foods they won’t eat for others to take. North Scott used to have a community tray; however, we don’t have one anymore so we could reimplement one into the cafeteria to reduce food waste. The participating states in the World Wildlife study “recorded a 3% reduction in food waste.” If the rest of the country followed suit, we would be able to significantly reduce the amount of waste we create as a society.