Another Kind of Waste

I had such high hopes for the Chicago Tribune piece “Schools Promote Waste-Free Lunches.” When I read that headline, I thought of food waste, not packaging. As you can guess, the article is almost solely about the latter.

Yes, keeping food packaging from the landfill is a noble cause. But, I would argue, not as noble as preventing its contents from the same fate.

The piece discusses composting a bit, including an impressive level of separation (worm-friendly vs. hog-centric foods) in Duluth, Minn. But there’s no talk of reducing the amount of food wasted.

photo by ndanger via creative commonsWhy is that? My sense is that composting is an easy change. It doesn’t ask much of us, other than an extra step or two at the bin. Reducing waste can be a bit harder. What’s your take?

As an example, the article covers the composting of empty milk cartons lining the trash, but doesn’t talk about the full ones mixed into the bin.

And there’s almost always milk wasted. The USDA requires that all kids on the National School Lunch Program take a milk–even if kids say they’re not going to drink it. Oh, and the same policy exists for the entree, too.

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