BREMERTON — The Bremerton School District, partnered with the State of Washington and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has created a food share program.
This program was initiated in April 2016, and the district is already collecting more than 800 pounds of food, collectively from its eight schools.
Under the program, student volunteers gather unopened, undamaged fruit, drinks and snacks, which would otherwise be headed to the landfill, and store the items in a school refrigerator until the Salvation Army picks up the food.
The Salvation Army then distributes the food to food banks in the community so it can make its way to people most in need.
“We are incredibly pleased that we have been able to move forward with this partnership,” said Patty Glaser, community relations person for BSD. “Not only because we get to lessen our impact on food waste in landfills but, more importantly, (we’re) teaching students the impact they can have on their community.”
By participating in this program, the district also saves money by avoiding garbage collection and landfilling costs.
“Over a third of all food produced in the United States ends up in the trash can,” the BSD press release states, “while one in five children live in homes that are food insecure.
“Although people know they shouldn’t waste food, the habit starts when we are young. An average school throws away about 30 pounds of perfectly good food every day, including (unconsumed) fruit, millk, granola, cereal, cheese and grains.
“Over the past several months, the district has been working with EPA and the state to create the systems necessary to divert edible food.”
The program is expected to divert 32,000 pounds of perfectly edible, nutritious food from the landfill every year, saving water, energy and landfill space.
“We look forward to watching this program grow,” Glaser said.
For more information about EPA’s food recovery and related work, visit www.epa.com/sustainable-management-food.