Free Food is Becoming Wasted Food

Diego Lera-Lozano, Student Writer

The bell rings, lunch is out. You walk out and the trash bins are piled up with white plastic bags full of random food. This year the school is able to give out free lunch and breakfast; however, everyone is required to take the full meal. The lunch includes a main meal and plastic bag filled with a variety of snacks. A lot of students don’t even touch the bag, and the ones who do, rarely like everything in the bag. By the end of every year, schools across the country waste around 530,000 tons of food collectively every year when it could be easily avoided. A student response to the survey about taking the full lunch meal stated that, “They force me to take it and I feel wasteful because I’m throwing out so much food.”

For starters, the school shouldn’t force kids to take the extra food and for the kids who would want to eat something extra, the school should provide more options. Mandi Gravatt, a high school senior in journalism stated that, “I take the free lunch, but I feel bad about throwing away so much trash that can easily be avoided; it is a waste for both the students and the school.” If the school provided more options for the people getting lunch other than the type of milk the student wants, it would lead to less food waste. For example, the school should have several trays of food where the students can grab what they want and ignore what they would usually throw out. The only issues the school would face would be how to make it all Covid friendly. Lunch staff could distribute the food into the student bags like they used to in previous years. The school also uses brown paper bags for breakfast but then shifts to plastic bags for lunch. The school goes through an obscene amount of plastic bags throughout weekly lunches. Even though it may be more expensive, Mrs. Reese thinks the school should shift to, “compostable or recyclable bags.”

The only concern is that the school may not shift to paper bags because of the expense of recyclable or compostable bags but if the students were to push for it, the school would most definitely consider it. The school has a lot of opportunities to reduce waste in our school cafeteria. However, they will only do so if students continue to talk about the issue and present solutions. It’s the responsibility of the student body to force a change and the faculty is here to hear the students out and hopefully make a change together.