Eco-Friendly Eaters: Aiming To Reduce More Than 100 Pounds Of Waste During Lunch

We’ve all been there you’re full and you simply scrape the food off your plate into the trash.

It’s part of the reason 40 percent of food is wasted in America.

Now some students are taking notice of those numbers …

Traverse Heights in traverse city is digging deeper into why by conducting a little experiment during lunch.

They got some help from organizations across town like Oryana, FoodCorps and Food Rescue, which is a program through Goodwill Northern Michigan.

Usually lunch is time for laugh and play

But now- lunch is time for a lesson.

“We waste a lot of food in this country 40-percent of our food is wasted and it starts there,” said Devin Moore, education outreach coordinator for Oryana.

That 40% is the focus for students at traverse heights elementary school in Traverse City.

The garbage cans were pushed aside at lunch today and replaced with marked containers.

Showing students how much of each food gets wasted.

“What nutritional value ends up in the garbage can that should be in your body to help you grow into a better thinker,” said Ryan Schrock, Principal of Traverse Heights.

The buckets of food waste were weighed – and came back with some pretty shocking results.

“A lot of us aren’t aware of what we are wasting we just put it in the trash and see where it goes,” said Devin.

The lunchroom lesson extended into the classroom – showing students where all that waste typically ends up in a landfill.

That turned out to be 137 pounds of uneaten food.

“20 pounds from mac and cheese and liquids I hadn’t seen that much liquids being thrown away,” noticed Jeremiah, in second grade.

Of that 137 pounds – only 7 of it is really considered garbage.

That equals 21,600 pounds a year – from Traverse Heights alone.

Now students are exploring more efficient alternatives.

A lot of it got wasted and that’s a whole bunch and we start giving it to homeless people.

“We have so many people starving but we have so much food waste so we are going to try to talk about the comparison between the two and hoping to shed a little light waste a little less and recycle and compost some more,” said Devin.

And learning that just because it looks like waste – that’s not the way it has to taste.

“The ones that are green you’re supposed to they could last for two weeks the one that are yellow can last for one week and the brown spotted ones need to be eaten right away,” said Jeremiah.

Even the brown spotted ones…

“Put them in a smoothie, put them in a banana pie,” he suggested.

“You can eat all stages of fruit even if it doesn’t look very pretty,” said Devin.

Traverse Heights took all the uneaten lunch food to pantries by food rescue.

Hopefully – a more common theme for these young, eco-friendly eaters.

“It will make you feel kind so you don’t waste all the food,” said Miranda.

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