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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