Waste in the cafeteria

  1. We have all seen it, kids get a tray of food eat a few items and the unopened things get thrown in the trash.

    Do other schools do the same?

    Here is a school that is doing the right thing: Elementary school 'share tables' keep unwanted lunch food out of trash
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   NutmeggeRN
    We have a table for them to drop things off at and surprisingly they do! Milk and fruit are the most common.
  4. by   KKEGS
    Yep. It drives me nuts! Both of my daughters attend the school where I work and I'm lucky enough to take my lunch break when my first grader has lunch so I will often eat with her. I rescue the things I can from her tray before it gets dumped. Today it was her carton of chocolate milk, an apple and a bag of Scooby Snacks.
  5. by   KKEGS
    Quote from NutmeggeRN
    We have a table for them to drop things off at and surprisingly they do! Milk and fruit are the most common.
    Great idea!!!
  6. by   Flare
    we sort of do the same thing. Kids that have unopened pre packaged foods put it on a table - the children are instructed to take anything they are going to eat and are not going to waste. Many children get their snack for the day this way. Any leftovers are brought to my office as extra snacks or snacks for diabetics or can be taken by teachers as extra snacks for their classrooms.

    Sometimes I can end up with more than i need - i've been known to take some of the juice packets to the food pantry when my numbers have approached triple digits.
  7. by   dakotadenise
    We have a share table. Unopened items and fruits with peels may go up there. Any student can take something from there after they have finished their own lunch. It works out really well.
  8. by   OldDude
    We decided not to do this in our district, not only because the shared food becomes excellent fomites to spread infectious organisms but, because it's a food allergy nightmare. You have no idea who touched what food and left what residue on what food container to be touched by what child allergic to what. And no one was going to be available to wash the food containers with soap and water.
  9. by   grammy1
    We have a share table too. I get much of what's left, and like Flare, sometimes too much.
  10. by   KKEGS
    Quote from OldDude
    We decided not to do this in our district, not only because the shared food becomes excellent fomites to spread infectious organisms but, because it's a food allergy nightmare. You have no idea who touched what food and left what residue on what food container to be touched by what child allergic to what. And no one was going to be available to wash the food containers with soap and water.
    You bring up a very good point.
  11. by   HCPSRMA
    We also have a share table... but who knows what is on those little hands that take the item from the tray to the table... The food from the back also goes to the garbage can if not eaten. I do wish that these things could be donated.
  12. by   Flare
    the point of fomites and allergens was brought up - but since the share table is only for food provided by cafeteria trays and i generally only get food from the breakfast serving, the number of hands touching it we discussed, it probably around the same as that of the number of hands handling any given package on a supermarket shelf. As far as allergens go, Most of our convenience foods are nut safe, but not all. Nothing has straight up peanuts in it (except for the peanut butter served at lunchtime in the pb&j sandwiches. I don't get those. and I suppose it's not a pre packaged convenience food anyhow)
  13. by   OldDude
    I would love to have a share table...but that one time...that would do it.
  14. by   SaltineQueen
    We have something similar, the "Free Fridge." Unopened milks, juice, bananas, cheese sticks, yogurt, etc. are put on a cart & then go in there at the end of lunch. Kids can get in there after they eat their lunch if they're still hungry. It's also my first stop when I get a kiddo c/o a stomachache that says they didn't eat breakfast.

    It still sickens me to see all the other food, that isn't prepackaged, that gets tossed every day. I applaud our food service director for trying to bring different things into the cafeterias, but there are certain things that almost ALWAYS get tossed by the majority. Not sure what to do about that. I tried to change our schedule to recess before lunch, in hopes of reducing waste, but no one is going for it at this point.

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