Did you know that approximately 40 percent of food produced in America is thrown away? Put another way: that is nearly $165 billion worth of food thrown out each year in the United States.
As school nutrition professionals, we are very familiar with the issues and costs associated with food waste. As part of our mission to support education, research, and scholarship within the school nutrition community, the School Nutrition Foundation has partnered with the Environmental Research & Education Foundation (EREF) on the School Cafeteria Discards Assessment Project (SCrAP)—and we need YOUR help!
The SCrAP project aims to gather information regarding the quantity of waste generated in school cafeterias, and to gain an understanding of how this waste is managed both at the school and after it is hauled away. Participants will receive waste-related educational materias for the classroom, a snapshot results report tailored for your school (for Blue & Gold level participation), and the change to win money to support your school—up to $1500!
The Environmental Research & Education Foundation is a non-profit organization that funds and directs scientific research and educational initiatives for sustainable waste management. The SCrAP project was developed by EREF to quantify food and related wastes generated in K-12 cafeterias across the country. By gathering this information, EREF aims to obtain a better understanding of how this waste is managed at school and offsite.
About SCrAP: Other Objectives
In addition to gathering data, the SCrAP project could also help provide additional benefits to schools, such as:
- Educating students and school staff regarding sustainable waste management strategies
- Reducing unnecessary food waste
- Reducing food costs to schools
- Developing ways to better manage institutional food waste
Download this brochure to learn more, and to share with your staff members.
How to Sign Up for SCrAP
Signing up to participate in the SCrAP project is quick and easy! Simply visit the EREF website to get started. We also recommend watching the short instructional videos embedded, below; the first offers information on recruitment, as well as testimonials, while the second details how to get involved.
During sign up you’ll be asked to select a participation level; there are three levels of participation to choose from:
- Purple (Questionnaire only): This is the lowest level of participation, and requires filling out a questionnaire about your school’s waste management practices.
- Blue (Questionnaire & Weight Measurements): This second level of participation involves filling out the questionnaire, as well as weighing the cafeteria waste bins 3 to 5 times. Each weight measurement activity usually takes about 30 minutes and can be done during or after the lunch period.
- Gold (Questionnaire & Additional Weight Measurements): The third level of participation requires that you fill out the questionnaire and weigh cafeteria waste bins 6-10 times. These extra measurements provide additional useful information, such as understanding how much the waste stream changes during the school year, and whether different menu itesm affect how much waste is created.
We hope you will consider signing up to participate in the SCrAP study, and help us keep the conversation going on social media. Visit the SCrAP program on EREF’s Facebook and Instagram, and post your own photos of food waste using the hashtag #myfoodscraps.