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Sustainability 2015, 7(2), 1370-1387; doi:10.3390/su7021370

Food Waste Auditing at Three Florida Schools

Soil and Water Science Department, University of Florida-IFAS, P.O. Box 110960, Gainesville, FL 32611-0960, USA
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Academic Editor: Kirrilly Thompson
Received: 17 November 2014 / Revised: 11 December 2014 / Accepted: 12 January 2015 / Published: 27 January 2015
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Abstract

School cafeterias are a significant source of food waste and represent an ideal opportunity for diverting food waste from landfills. In this study, cafeteria waste audits were conducted at three Florida schools. Food waste comprised the largest fraction of school cafeteria waste streams, ranging from 47% to 58%, followed by milk, paper products (tissue, milk cartons, pasteboard, paper plates, and cardboard), and plastics (plastic wrap, packaging, and utensils). Metal and glass comprised the smallest fraction of the waste stream. Average total waste generation ranged from 50.5 to 137.6 g·student−1·day−1. The mean generation rates for food waste ranged from 24.7 to 64.9 g·student−1·day−1. The overall average for cafeteria waste generation among all three schools was 102.3 g·student−1·day−1, with food waste alone contributing 52.2 g·student−1·day−1. There are two primary approaches to diverting school food waste from landfills: reduction and recycling. Food waste can be reduced through educating students and staff in order to change behaviors that cause food waste. Food waste can be collected and recycled through composting or anaerobic digestion in order to generate beneficial end products, including soil amendments and bioenergy. Over 75% of the cafeteria waste measured in this study could be recycled in this manner. View Full-Text
Keywords: cafeteria waste; school food waste; waste audit; recycling; waste generation rates; landfill diversion; anaerobic digestion; composting; bioenergy; sustainability cafeteria waste; school food waste; waste audit; recycling; waste generation rates; landfill diversion; anaerobic digestion; composting; bioenergy; sustainability
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Wilkie, A.C.; Graunke, R.E.; Cornejo, C. Food Waste Auditing at Three Florida Schools. Sustainability 2015, 7, 1370-1387.

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