Mass. Middle School Launches Program to Reduce Food Waste

William Diamond Middle School introduced a new food recovery program on Jan. 2 that aims to reduce food waste in Lexington, Massachusetts. The program is a collaboration between Lexington’s Board of Health, the Public Health Department, parent volunteers and Whitsons Culinary Group, a local newspaper reported. It was approved by the Board of Health in August.

Food recovery is the process of saving edible food that would normally be thrown away and is given to food banks, restaurants, and other food distributors. Food waste makes up about 22 percent of all discarded municipal solid waste, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

“What makes it worthwhile is that we’re able to feed hungry people, but also divert that food waste and make a real sustainability effort,” Public Health Director Kari Sasportas told the Lexington Minuteman. “It’s also a good educational opportunity for the kids to learn about sustainability and the whole cycle of food.”

Students at William Diamond Middle School can now drop off lunch items they did not open or eat like yogurt cups, cheese sticks, milk bottles, apples and bananas and drop them off in a fridge located in the cafeteria. The food items will then be donated to Foodlink, an Arlington-based non-profit.

In addition, the school collaborated with Foodlink, Whitsons, and the health department to create new operating procedures for food service workers in the school district.

The Health Department will evaluate the new program at the end of February and will determine whether or not to implement similar programs to the town’s eight other schools.

About the Author

Yvonne Marquez is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].