Starting this week, St. Luke’s will be participating in the Clean Plate Project. Sponsored by the Sustainability Club and Flik, the project focuses on reducing the amount of food waste produced by the St. Luke’s community. The trash in the cafeteria will be weighed and recorded each week and posted on a board above the sorting area for students and faculty to see. After a few weeks of weighing the waste, a reduction goal will be set. In order for the school to reach this goal, Flik has agreed to provide an incentive, such as student-choice lunches.
When food is thrown into the trash, it, along with all other trash contents, will most likely end up in a landfill. While in a landfill, the food will decay, releasing harmful emissions into the atmosphere. According to the National Resources Defense Council, food waste contributes to 23% of U.S. methane emissions, making the waste detrimental to the environment. In order to combat this issue, the Sustainability Club has also announced the launch of a compost program. Rather than having two bins in the cafeteria for trash and one for recycling, one of the trash bins has been turned into a compost bin. By encouraging students to throw their fruit and vegetable waste into the compost bin, we will be able to drastically reduce our food waste and our harm to the environment. The contents that are thrown into the compost bin will be used in our own St. Luke’s compost, which is currently located behind the tennis courts.
It is undeniable that the hardest part of this new program will be ensuring that each member of the community understands what can and can’t go into the compost bin. Though there is a sign above the bin that lays out the details, people are often careless when scraping the contents of their plate into the garbage. “The only way for this system to work is if every single person in the school is on board with it,” said Sustainability Club co-president Michael Pizzani, “But, if we get to this to work, St. Luke’s will be a leading example of sustainability and waste reduction.”