School cafeterias generate a significant amount of wasted food. An estimated 30 to 50 percent of edible food in schools is not eaten by students and is instead sent to landfills or composting facilities. The purpose of this project is to work with Auburn School District to gather and analyze data from schools in the Auburn School District on current cafeteria and kitchen solid waste to inform a pilot School Food Share Program and to help identify effective waste reduction strategies. Students will suggest actions schools could take to reduce and recycle overall waste, including wasted food, and will offer recommendations for what could be donated from schools as edible food products. This project calculated current lunchtime trash, recycling, and compost rates in elementary, middle and high schools in Auburn School District, and evaluated current food waste patterns to determine if wasted food could be rescued and reallocated to feed students or community members experiencing food insecurity. Waste audits at 15 Auburn schools were performed. The following process was followed to calculate current and potential lunchtime recycling rates in each school: weighing and recording bags of trash, recyclable materials, and compostable materials received from lunchrooms and kitchens in order to determine the current pre-sort lunchtime rate; sorting each item from those bags into its correct
receptacle; and weighing and recording the correctly sorted bags to determine the potential post-sort rate.
Livable City Year Contact Info
Teri Thomson Randall
University Faculty Contact
Local Government / Community Contact