بخشی از مقاله (انگلیسی)
Food recovery is a key strategy to address food waste concerns. School nutrition programs have significant amounts of food waste; yet, little is known about the prevalence and feasibility of school food recovery. In this mixed methods study, we identify potential school food recovery options and relevant systems factors, such as policies, resources, barriers, and competing priorities. To achieve these objectives, we conducted pre-consumer food waste audits and measured all wasted food recovered or landfilled at 14 school kitchens across three Northern Colorado school districts. Additionally, we interviewed professionals engaged in food recovery (n = 8) and school nutrition and sustainability staff (n = 20). The results indicate that the majority of food waste is landfilled, but food donation through share tables and appropriation of milk to food banks prior to long school breaks were viewed as the most feasible food recovery options. Liability concerns, increased expenses over landfilling, inconsistent wasted food volumes, and policy confusion hindered food recovery. Interviewees also viewed priorities to promote food safety and quality of recovered food as barriers. Key facilitators of food recovery were the desire to facilitate a cultural change to normalize food recovery among students and volunteers or advocates to address the food recovery labor needs. Interview participants across the system agreed that the training process required to sort uneaten foods had secondary benefits of equipping the next generation with environmental stewardship habits. Study findings underscore the interconnected nature of food safety, economics, and food recovery, and also suggest that systems-level solutions are warranted.
Food waste is a significant problem affecting the environment and the global population. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Americans produced 39 million tons of food waste in 2015, sending the majority of it to landfills (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2016a). Landfilled food is a key driver of climate change due to the greenhouse gas emissions during the production, distribution and refrigeration of wasted food (Springmann et al., 2018), as well as the methane and carbon dioxide emitted by landfilled food (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2016b). These gases change climate patterns which affect food production, water access, and exposure to health hazards (NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 2018) and warrants diverting food waste from landfills. In Colorado, seven million tons of solid waste are generated annually (Burns et al., 2016). In Colorado, 16.8 percent of residential and commercial waste is comprised of food, the second most common material landfilled following paper (Burns et al., 2016). The Larimer County landfill in Northern Colorado is predicted to reach capacity in 10 years if current and projected trends for disposal of solid waste continues (Sloan Vazquez McAfee Municipal Solid Waste Advisors, 2016). In order to better manage natural resources, the EPA developed the Food Recovery Hierarchy (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2016c). Food recovery refers to strategies to prevent and divert wasted food from landfill disposal (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2016c). Following the reduction of surplus food, the hierarchy recommends, in order of importance, feeding hungry people, feeding animals, industrial uses, and composting as landfill alternatives (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2016c). Important considerations for food donations are proper food handling and food safety (McFadden et al., 2015). There are also increasing food safety concerns with feeding food scraps to animals, and this practice has dwindled considerably since the 1980s when a number of animal-feed related disease outbreaks occurred (Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic, 2016a).