Investigating waste management programs in school foodservice operations
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.