Investigating waste management programs in school foodservice operations
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This study investigated demographic food waste management practices, recycling of packaging waste, and attitudes and barriers concerning waste management activities in school nutrition programs. Research methods included a pilot study and a national survey of a random sample of 599 child nutrition directors who were members of the School Nutrition Association. Survey invitations were mailed and/or emailed and 79 usable responses were received. Majority of respondents (75%) indicated that the school district paid for waste hauling without billing the child nutrition program; however 18% paid a standard percent allocation (indirect cost). Cardboard, paper and plastic bottles/containers were the most frequently recycled materials. Most respondents had positive attitudes towards recycling, but limited space, non-availability of recycling facilities in local area, and lack of customer/student participation and support were revealed as the three top barriers to waste management programs.