Food to Flowers: school waste reduction assistance

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What is Food to Flowers?

girl eating lunchFood to Flowers (F2F) helps public and private K-12 schools in Thurston County prevent waste, save money, and provide hands-on environmental learning opportunities to their students. Schools throw away a lot of stuff and most of it is food. The City of Olympia’s WasteWise program provides similar support for schools within the city of Olympia.

Both these programs partner with schools to reduce wasted food, eliminate disposables and set up recycling programs. Across the county, there are 15 F2F schools and 15 City of Olympia WasteWise schools representing more than 14,000 students participating in an organics collection program. Check out below to see what these schools are doing and to find out how your school can get involved.

Reducing lunchroom waste by almost 90 percent

girls sorting food wasteF2F schools now compost and recycle about 90 percent of what they used to throw away in their cafeterias and kitchens. On average, F2F schools are saving 15 to 20 percent on their total garbage and recycling collection costs. The F2F program helps schools design recycling stations and train student volunteers to monitor them.

Replacing spork kits with durable flatware

F2F schools have eliminated more than 2.2 million spork kits and straws from the waste stream each school year. The F2F program provides schools with technical assistance and supplies to help them make the shift from disposables to durables. Supplies include durable flatware, and napkin and condiment dispensers.

Reducing milk carton and milk waste

girl getting milk from dispenserTen schools in the Olympia School District now serve most of their milk using milk dispensers and durable cups. Making this change has reduced milk waste by more than 8,000 gallons and eliminated more than 350,000 milk cartons from the trash each year. You can check out milk dispensers in action here. If your school is interested in learning more about milk dispensers, contact the F2F program or the City of Olympia’s WasteWise Schools program. Contact information can be found below.

Rescuing prepared, but unserved school food for the Food Bank

Eighteen schools in the Olympia School District, six schools in the Tumwater District, and four schools in the North Thurston District are now setting aside prepared, but unserved food to donate to the Food Bank. This food is then packaged into ready-to-eat meals for families in our community. The F2F program can provide schools with the assistance and supplies needed to join this program. Learn more here!

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