The Environmental Research & Education Foundation (EREF) – a non-profit organization that funds and directs scientific research and educational initiatives for sustainable waste management practices – in collaboration with the School Nutrition Foundation (SNF), has developed the School Cafeteria Discards Assessment Project (SCrAP) to quantify both food waste and related wastes (e.g. recyclables, to landfill) generated in cafeterias at private K-12 schools nationally.
According to a report from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), roughly 40% of food produced in America is thrown away, which equates to nearly $165 billion worth of food each year.*
SCrAP aims to gather information regarding the quantity of waste generated in school cafeterias and gain an understanding of how this waste is managed both at the school and after it is hauled away.
In order to obtain accurate data, EREF has turned to elementary, middle and high schools, as well as private K-12 institutions, across the United States to compile data that could aid in significantly reducing food waste generation.
In addition to this information, SCrAP could provide benefits to schools such as:
- Educating students/school staff regarding more sustainable waste management strategies
- Reducing unnecessary food waste
- Reducing food costs to schools
- Developing ways to better manage institutional food waste
School participation can be as simple as completing a questionnaire or as involved as providing waste weight measurements. SCrAP participants will receive waste related educational materials for the classroom, a snapshot results report tailored for each school (for specified participation levels), and the chance to win money to support the school, up to a maximum of $1,500.
EREF has also developed Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/SCRAPresearch/) and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/scrapproject/) accounts for the SCrAP program. Anyone can learn more about and help promote the program by visiting these pages and posting photos of their own food waste using the hashtag #myfoodscraps.
EREF is a 501(c)3 class charity that funds and directs scientific research and educational initiatives for waste management practices to benefit industry participants and the communities they serve. For more complete information on EREF funded research, its scholarship program and how to donate to this great cause, visit www.erefdn.org.
*According to the 2012 Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) report “Wasted: How America is Losing Up to 40 Percent of Its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill”