Food surplus leads to excess waste


Art by Valeria Velasquez

George Frey

With the world’s population being 7.5 billion and rising, human beings will endlessly continue to pollute. There currently isn’t a total and complete way to stop pollution; we rely on driving cars, landfills and, of course, things such as food which can create both waste as it decays and plastic waste from disposable utensils.
So we must ask ourselves, ‘what can we do before it’s too late to turn back?’ The simple answer: we need to become more aware of the way we dispose of things.
In a recent Southside Media project Oct. 15, news editor Anna Xu, led a staff effort to measure a day’s trash and spent hours sorting through bag after bag of food. Items ranged from a variety of condiments to fruits that people didn’t even bother to eat and then proceeded to throw away. The food waste measured out to around 168 pounds. RBHS produced this trash in just one day during both A and B lunches, not to mention the other unmeasured trash people didn’t even both to put away in the first place.
So it’s safe to say, RBHS produces a lot of waste, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
Schools here in the Midwest have been able to dramatically reduce their production of trash, such as Turner High School, just outside of Kansas City. Turner received a grant from the Kauffman Foundation to create specific bins labeled, ‘Compost,’ and ‘Waste,’ which encourages students to be more aware of their waste. Turner produces 300,000 pounds of food waste every year, but they hope to dramatically decrease its amount of waste being sent to landfills by 44,000 pounds.
According to some, however, the entire process of creating specific bins and telling students which trash goes where seems like a waste of money. In response to this: yes, we can’t get every single student to obey every single rule put in place, that’s not realistic, especially concerning that RBHS allows students to eat all kinds of places, not just the cafeteria. What we could do, however, is construct more bins in popular lunch areas at RBHS, which will hopefully encourage even more students to use them. Of course, money is also a factor, but this outweighs the economic issue. Waste is a problem which impacts the environment which we all share.
To solve struggles with budgeting, we, like Turner, could obtain grants and at the very least try and make the effort by creating similar school wide policies regulating waste disposal and hopefully start a trend for years to come.
Overall, RBHS needs to become more organized in the way we deal waste by constructing bins for compost. Change starts small, but if we construct these bins, perhaps other schools will follow suit. We are the youth, the future relies on us and being more aware of what we dispose of is a first step. We might as well create a brighter, cleaner, less wasteful future for our children and our children’s children.
How much food waste do you think you produce? Let us know in the comment section below!