School Nutrition Association April 2017 : Page 71

focus on » Going Green Onsite Insights Especially for school nutrition managers, assistant managers and employees Test Your Knowledge: Recycling TRUE Most paper products like napkins and towels are considered recyclable, and should be sorted with other paper products, such as plates. Plastic bags can and should be recycled along with other plastics. Paper cups and plates with plastic and waxed coatings are not recyclable. Recycling is the best way we can decrease the amount of waste we make. Recycling helps reduce air pollution. See answers on page 74 FALSE EXPAND YOUR ENVIRONMENTAL LITERACY Can you speak the language of environmentalism? Here are a few common words and phrases found at the intersection of sustainability and foodservice: Biodegradable: When something Landfi ll: This is a trash disposal site where garbage is buried in the ground, typically between layers of dirt. Organic: Foods grown without Compost: This describes decay-is capable of being decomposed by bacteria or other biological means, it is considered biode-gradable. habits. Plate waste in school cafe-terias is the quantity of edible portions of food served through USDA school nutrition programs that students discard each year. Recycling: This is a treatment or ing organic matter—dead leaves, food scraps, manure—that is used to fertilize soil. EPA: The Environmental Protec-synthetic fertilizers or pesticides, antibiotics or GMOs are consid-ered organic. The USDA defi nes and regulates offi cial use of the term “organic” as it pertains to foods and food packaging. Plate Waste: This refers to a process in which used or waste materials are made suitable for reuse in some form. Source Reduction: Also referred tion Agency (EPA) is a federal agency established to coordinate programs designed to protect the environment. to as “precycling,” “waste preven-tion” or “pollution prevention,” measurement used to understand source reduction eliminates food consumption and eating waste before it is created. www.schoolnutrition.org | SN | 71

Onsite Insights

focus on » Going Green

Especially for school nutrition managers, assistant managers and employees

EXPAND YOUR ENVIRONMENTAL LITERACY

Can you speak the language of environmentalism? Here are a few common words and phrases found at the intersection of sustainability and foodservice:

Biodegradable: When something is capable of being decomposed by bacteria or other biological means, it is considered biodegradable.

Compost: This describes decaying organic matter—dead leaves, food scraps, manure—that is used to fertilize soil.

EPA: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is a federal agency established to coordinate programs designed to protect the environment.

Landfill: This is a trash disposal site where garbage is buried in the ground, typically between layers of dirt.

Organic: Foods grown without synthetic fertilizers or pesticides, antibiotics or GMOs are considered organic. The USDA defines and regulates official use of the term “organic” as it pertains to foods and food packaging.

Plate Waste: This refers to a measurement used to understand food consumption and eating habits. Plate waste in school cafeterias is the quantity of edible portions of food served through USDA school nutrition programs that students discard each year.

Recycling: This is a treatment or process in which used or waste materials are made suitable for reuse in some form.

Source Reduction: Also referred to as “precycling,” “waste prevention” or “pollution prevention,” source reduction eliminates waste before it is created.

WORDS TO KNOW

There are a baker’s dozen (13) words related to environmentalism hidden in this search. Can you find them all?

CAN YOU FIND?

Climate
Compost
Conservation
Energy
Garbage
Green
Landfill
Recycle
Reduce
Reuse
Sustainable
Waste
Water

Strategies to Reduce Plate Waste

WHY REDUCE PLATE WASTE? When students toss out food, they toss out nourishment. Hungry students can’t learn, so improving school meals is a win-win for you and the kids.

STUDENT FEEDBACK: Create a student panel to help evaluate the current menu, or take a school-wide survey to determine student preferences. Taste tests and samples are a great way to gauge student response to prospective menu items and encourage kids to keep trying new things. Make it a fun and engaging activity.

GO GLOBAL: Explore the cultures and ethnicities reflected in your student body on your menu. Take inspiration from trends that are rising in popularity in commercial foodservice outlets, whether it’s food truck-style menus or fusion cuisine.

REDISTRIBUTE: Are there intact items that are being tossed into the trash that could be donated to a backpack program, food bank or gleaning organization instead? Some districts also permit “sharing tables” and allow kids to exchange unwanted items.

[BY THE NUMBERS]

3 Hours

The amount of time you can binge-watch your favorite TV show, by recycling a single aluminum can.

Source: Recycle Across America

Earth Day

Fast Facts

The first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970, and is considered the jumping off point for the modern conservation movement. The first Earth Day enjoyed wide bipartisan support, as well as popular support from the public. It continues to be celebrated on April 22 each year.

• Within a year of the first Earth Day, the Environmental Protection Agency was created by President Nixon, and the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts were passed.

• Earth Day “went global” in 1990; today, more than 1 billion people participate in Earth Day activities throughout the world.

• The official theme of Earth Day 2017 is Environmental & Climate Literacy.

• Climate Literacy by 2020: The Earth Day Network has launched a campaign with an ambitious goal: “Ensuring that every student around the world graduates high school as an environmental and climate literate citizen.”

For more information about Earth Day campaigns and activities visit www.earthday.org.

Donna Myers

SNA School Nutrition Employee/Manager Representative

Protecting Our Planet: One Cafeteria at a Time

IN CELEBRATION OF EARTH DAY, APRIL 22, I would like to celebrate what school nutrition programs are doing to take care of our environment. And it’s a lot! Conservation projects are often managed in partnership with other departments in the school or district; isn’t it great when the whole school is working together for an important cause?

I checked in with some of my colleagues at different school sites throughout my very own School District of Osceola County Florida, to find out what they are doing. But I’ll bet that many of you all across the country are involved in similar activities. When we share great ideas like these, we all win!

» Manager Jon Gatewood at East Lake Elementary shared with me that his school has a recycling dumpster for the cardboard boxes used for all the deliveries in the school kitchen.

» Students and teachers at Celebration K-8 have worked together to become hydroponic gardeners. In fact, they have built a hydroponic tower garden in the middle of the school cafeteria! Café Manager Kim Abaloz reports that the students really love the bright lights and are drawn to the display. The garden has grown basil, lettuce and cucumbers. Kim prepares and serves samples made from the garden harvest to students.

» At Harmony High School, we have started using cardboard lunch trays instead of the ones made with plastic foam. We also serve milk packaged in plastic bags, instead of the paperboard cartons. This has really helped to reduce the volume of trash we generate!

» Many elementary schools in our district have programs that teach third- and fourth-graders how to grow fruits and vegetables in their school gardens.

» Classrooms throughout the school district have recycling bins to collect several different categories of waste. Students help with the delivery of the bins to be sorted and this has become a school project.

Here in Florida, we are building an awareness of environmental issues among our students at a very young age. That includes telling them about Earth Day and the birth of the modern environmental movement. What are you doing in your communities? I hope you will be celebrating!

Five Ways to go Green(er)

» The School Cafeteria Discards Assessment Project (SCrAP) was developed by the Environmental Research and Education Foundation (EREF) in collaboration with the School Nutrition Foundation (SNF) and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to quantify food and related wastes in K-12 school cafeterias across the country. Sign up for one of three levels of participation (from a simple questionnaire to weight measurement); Blue and Gold levels could win up to $1,500. Participants also have access to support materials, including videos and live webinars. For more information, visit https://erefdn.org/school-cafeteria-waste.

» Making a farm to school connection with a local food producer brings fresh local food to the cafeteria—and it reduces your program’s carbon footprint, because food travels shorter distances from field to tray. The National Farm to School Network is a one-stop-shop for resources (including grant opportunities) for connecting with local farmers and beginning school gardens. (www.farmtoschool.org)

» If you’re purchasing new equipment, look for the Energy Star (www.energystar.gov) rating; Energy Star products use less energy, which is good for the environment and for your budget! Check the Energy Star website for a list of energy-efficient products, energy strategies for business and other resources to help you “green” your school meals program.

» Watch your water use. Do faucets have drips or seals show small leaks? Does the toilet run unless someone remembers to jiggle the handle? Are you letting the tap flow a long time before water heats to the proper temperature for washing smallwares—or even your hands? Water conservation is important—especially in times and areas of drought. Make sure that your equipment is in proper working order and that you are mindful of your own habits to avoid wasting it.

» Check out “Trash Talk,” on page 89, this month’s To Your Credit article, for a deeper dive into this topic, including small strategies to reduce waste in the school kitchen and cafeteria garbage bins.

[BY THE NUMBERS]

$200 billion

The amount of money generated by the recycling industry each year in the United States.

Source: Recycle Across America

Test Your Knowledge: Recycling (page 71) Answers: (1) False. While it’s true that paper napkins and towels are technically made of paper, they are not made of a type that is recyclable, so keep them out of the recycling bin! (2) False. Plastic bags are generally not recyclable along with other plastics, such as bottles. Check to see if a local retailer (such as a grocery store) offers plastic bag recycling. (3) True! Paper products without a wax or plastic coating can be recycled. (4) False. The first step in decreasing the amount of waste we make is to reduce the amount of packaging and other materials we consume, and then reusing items as often as possible. (5) True! Recycling reduces the need for mining and drilling, which cause air (and water) pollution.

Read the full article at http://mydigimag.rrd.com/article/Onsite+Insights/2749626/396266/article.html.

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