ISTC project informs California school’s food waste diversion pilot program

When California mandated that businesses and organization, including schools, begin diverting their organic waste from the state’s landfills, the Franklin Elementary PTA in Glendale, California decided to take action.

Using information from ISTC’s Green Lunchroom Challenge for inspiration, the school developed an organics diversion program, which is a pilot for the entire Glendale Unified School District.

Monica Favand Campagna, the Parent Foundation’s Green Team captain, says, “We looked to your website as one of our sources for info when we began this project.”

The school’s PTA and Parent Foundation worked with the school to initiate the pilot program. Southland Disposal, the school’s hauler, provided green bins and picks up the scraps once per week to compost in a commercial facility nearby. The group has also developed a training video for parent volunteers who supervise the daily lunchroom waste separation at breakfast, snack, and lunch.

The Green Lunchroom Challenge, a voluntary pledge program for K-12 schools to improve the sustainability of their food service operations, was funded by U.S. EPA Region 5 from 2015-2016.  The Challenge involved suggested activities ranging in complexity and commitment, which allowed participants choose those that best suited their situation, budget, and available community resources. Participants earned points for documentation of completed activities, and were recognized as having achieved different levels of accomplishment.

Although the project ended in 2016, suggested activities for food waste reduction and prevention are still available on the project web site, as well as in IDEALS, the  University of Illinois’ institutional repository.

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