What We Do
While there are many sources of food waste throughout the food supply chain, RCE-FW focuses its efforts on food waste reduction in schools, where large amounts of food waste accumulates each year. Schools produce about 530,00 tons of solid food waste and 45 million gallons of milk waste each year in the United States. Each school spends up to $1.7 billion annually on growing, processing, transporting, and disposing of food that ends up contributing to food waste.
The RCE Food Waste Team offers:
- In-person food waste audits
- Effective interventions to schools
- Food service/cafeteria staff trainings
- Pre- and post- trainings measures
- Detailed reporting of your schools food waste
- Distribution of School Food Waste Reduction Toolkit
The RCE Food Waste Team’s efforts so far…
- In 2017, food waste audits and trainings were executed in Paterson Public Schools. This resulted in about 12 pounds of waste saved per school per day, and a total of 90,720 pounds of food waste saved for the whole district for the year. The estimated savings of food cost was $76,452! Click here to learn more.
- In 2018-2019, food waste assessments and trainings took place in New Brunswick Public Schools. This resulted in 3,871 pounds of food saved and redistributed to the community! Click here to learn more.
- In 2021, the RCE Food Waste team partnered with Sustainable Jersey on grant-funded project Sustainable and Scalable Food Waste Solutions for Schools. Food waste audits were conducted in three NJ public schools to assess waste. Food waste reduction trainings and interventions were held in 2022. Later in 2022, the effectiveness of each schools’ food waste reduction efforts will be assessed.
- In 2022, the team received an NJ Department of Environmental Protection Recycling Enhancement Act Grant to develop “NJ Leaves No Bite Behind”, a two-year project to research, create, pilot, and evaluate a hybrid (in-person and online) 5th grade curriculum centered on reducing food waste and the environmental impacts of the food system. Lessons will be taught during the 2022-2023 school year. Students, teachers, and administrators from two NJ schools will join in a summit to learn about food waste, and the schools will be supported through the grant to plan and implement school food waste reduction plans. A website with the lessons, videos, and games created for “NJ Leaves No Bite Behind” will be available here in 2023. Stay tuned!