War on Waste, junior edition

I’m sure we could all use a heart-warming story these days. Right on cue, students at Otto Petersen Elementary in Scappoose, Ore., are determined to reduce food waste.

More specifically, one fourth-grade class challenged the sixth-grade class to see who could waste less. They also set out to reduce paper and plastic waste, with the goal of saving money for the cash-strapped school. Going green to save green–two signs of the times.photo by old shoe woman

I sometimes wonder why more schools don’t use food waste reduction as a teaching tool. Kids could learn math (weighing the waste), science (compost, worm bins), social studies (civics, responsibility and recycling ) and spelling (V-E-R-M-I-C-U-L-T-U-R-E). All while saving money for the district by reducing food costs and requiring less landscaping soil.

In the course of the article, though, one dubious stat arose:

Lance Higgem, the Sodexo food service manager for Scappoose School District, said about two percent of food is wasted in the average school cafeteria.

Heck, one really wasteful kid might waste 2 percent of the cafeteria’s food! I’m exaggerating, but there’s just way it’s that low. Have you ever been to an elementary school lunch?? (Note: I hope you have.)

In the end, the fourth-graders trounced the sixth graders. It seems the older kids, way “too cool for school,” didn’t take it seriously. Two ideas: What happened to the fifth grade? Get a better prize than the winning class “getting” to help shave the principal’s head.

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  1. Posted March 5, 2009 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    …and if they used Bokashi in their experiments the biology teacher could have a ball! (OK maybe they’d have to be a bit older.) Bacteria and microorganisms are not just for us compost nerds, they were in there building the world 4 billion years before we turned up. And we all carry around a couple of kilos of them in our bodies…
    The challenge idea is just great, would be inspiring to see many more of these sort of challenges. You could just see them starting up in the local old people’s home, between the accounts department and the sales department at corporate headquarters, and between the staffs of two local councils. Everyone loves to be best!

  2. Posted March 5, 2009 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    I thought you might enjoy this post on canning potatoes to avoid 75 lbs. of waste:


  3. Posted March 5, 2009 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    Actually, I’ve never been to an elementary school lunch. lol I was homeschooled except for kindergarten, and in kindergarten we didn’t eat lunch at school.

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