Eau Claire County in Wisconsin is hoping a new grant program will help local schools in their efforts to reduce food waste.
The county is awarding grants of up to $1,000 to aid schools in their food waste management programs, which can include composting, share tables and educational activities for students.
The county is able to provide the program through funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Food waste has been a hassle for school nutrition programs since before the pandemic. A 2019 study estimated that schools produce 530,000 tons of food waste annually and the discarded food could be costing them as much as $1.7 billion each school year.
Schools throughout the country have come up with their own ways of dealing with cafeteria waste over the years, including donating leftover food to local farmers for use as animal feed and establishing student-led recycling clubs.