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Lunch leftovers: How “sharing tables” help Syracuse City schools reduce food waste (


The Syracuse City School District is not allowed to send leftovers home with students, due to state law. But for several years, the district has adopted a small-scale but creative, scalable approach to minimizing waste: sharing tables.

This is how it works: Every student gets a lunch. If he or she doesn’t want a part of the lunch, such as milk, the student can drop off the milk on a designated table in the lunchroom. Another student who wants a second milk, for example, can then pick up the milk on the designated table, also called a “sharing table,” and drink it.

In schools, restaurants and offices, there are a number of ways to freeze and distribute leftover food to address food injustice. Schools across the country are launching innovative ways to combat food waste and tackle student hunger, including an Indiana elementary school that now sends food home with needy children rather than throw it in the trash.

Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year gets lost or wasted, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. How excess food is handled could reduce the area’s carbon footprint and help address hunger in New York.

To read more of Matthew Gutierrez' article, please click here.

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