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Elementary Science

Reducing Lunch Waste

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Justin Heid Justin Heid 685 Points

I am looking for strategies/tips/suggesstions to decrease the amount of waste at our school during the lunch periods in an elementary school with over 700 students.


Kelsey Schulz Kelsey Schulz 995 Points

I agree with Jennifer and Kaile that creating a compost bin! I added an article (See the APA citation and link below) into my library about how to create garden spaces in schools with little money and space. The authors provide insights into implementing a vermicomposting center in coordination with cafeteria administration. If your school does not already have a garden or green space, this might be a great way to implement one while combating food waste in the cafeteria at the same time! Food scraps from the cafeteria would be necessary for maintenance of the compost.

Overall, students are not only learning to take responsibilty for the garden but can also learn about the varity of science phenonemon that occur in a garden such as photosynthesis, the water cycle, and decomposition, all with the aid of their cafeteria scraps!


Quigley, C., Tlusty, T., Hendrix, C., & Foster, A. (2015). No Space? Little Money? No Garden? Not So Fast! Science Scope, 038 (05), 21-25. Retrieved from

Jennifer Revelle Jennifer 2065 Points

I don't know if this will help but my middle school did a school wide based composting unit and each grade had to learn what went into a composting bin and what didn't. They would then, in the lunch room, have special bins where they were labelled what could go into the compost and what couldn't and students would sort out those things and at the end of the day each classroom/grade would put those things into the schools compost bin and obviously the other stuff went in the trash. It really did help the students see how wasteful they were in the world.

Sebrina Webster Sebrina Webster 2215 Points


What a great idea! This will help reduce waste in the lunch room, while teaching students the importance of recylcing and composting. I did a unit like this in school but it only lasted a month or so, so it would be wonderful to see it school wide forever! I can agree that it makes students more aware of how much food they watse, as well as, being more self conconscience of the foods I chose even outside of school to reduce the amount of packaging garbage I made. It's a great idea and can be very powerful if done school wide! 

Kaile Stewart Kaile Stewart 635 Points

Jennifer, great idea! I love the idea about starting a compost bin in the school classrooms! This could then be used in a school garden. The students could grow certain foods in the garden and then create fun recipes together or donate these items! Another idea would also be to set up a 'recover' area in the cafeteria. In this area students could leave certain pre-packaged, indiviudally wrapped foods that they weren't going to eat that could then be shared with other students who forgot their lunch that day, or ate and were still hungry! 

It's important students understand the important of reducing and recycling. 

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