DHEC study shows more than half of school waste can be prevented

VIDEO: DHEC study shows more than half of school waste can be prevented

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A new study finds that more than half of the waste South Carolina schools send to a landfill can be prevented.

The South Carolina Department of Environmental Control recently released the report “No Time to Waste: An Analysis of the Material Generated, Discarded and Recovered at South Carolina’s Public Schools” which shows that one of the biggest culprits for waste is unwanted food.

The majority of the waste generated at schools could be recovered through prevention, recycling, and composting, according to the report.

The report took a look at how much waste six schools generate during a one-day period. Although only a few schools were looked at, officials say they have made recommendations based on the key findings that could apply to any school in South Carolina.

DHEC officials recommend schools look at ways to reduce food waste, compost, update recycling programs, and implement waste reduction initiatives.

“We’re realizing that there is an issue. I think the first thing is making sure we have food items that kids want to eat, and then looking at where there is waste,” said Walter Campbell, the executive director of Nutrition Services for the Charleston County School District.

He says they have some initiatives in place to reduce food waste.

“It really starts with the back of the house and production,” Campbell said. “Also we make sure we’re batch cooking and that we’re not over cooking so we don’t have a lot of waste left over.”

CCSD schools also have a "grab-and-go" model when it comes to having breakfast in classrooms.

Instead of sending food directly into classrooms, students can go to carts set up in the hallway and pick out the food they want to eat.

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