Limiting Food Waste In FCPS Schools 


Staff file photo by Dan Gross

Urbana Elementary School fifth-grades sort trash from lunch at Sugarloaf Elementary School earlier this year as part of a pilot composting initiative 

Dylan Caple, Writer

FCPS schools should consider creating a better way to help limit environmental issues and set up ways for students to join in on the cause. 


Students and staff at Lincoln Elementary School have started making strides for a healthier environment. After each lunch period, students and teachers have the option to put their uneaten apples, bananas, and other clean items including milk cartons on a share table. Soon after lunch is finished, members from Frederick Rescue Mission, a ministry that provides a recovery program to the addicted, hungry, and homeless, picks up the food and takes it to one of their shelters where it’s used to feed people in need.


The recent initiative to get healthier foods to schools has led to farmers working harder to make that happen. One big problem in current day farming is that farmers push out fresh meat and vegetables to schools at a rapid rate, only for it to be wasted by the students. That’s not where the problem stops either; when food is placed in a landfill it rots and becomes a high source of methane gas, a dense greenhouse gas that’s 21 times the intensity of carbon dioxide. Yet, placing these new food tables does not guarantee it would be used by the student body properly. 


For example, Senior Brian Downs agreed that the tables wouldn’t really be used or have an effect in the larger picture. According to Brian, “ wouldn’t change anything and it certainly wouldnt be used properly.” Furthermore, he himself was unsure if he would participate in the movement, “most likely not” he answered. When first told of the idea, his first response to the plan was “It’s just gonna be used as another trash can.” 


If used correctly, this plan would start to affect the area around the schools participating. If all of FCPS started doing this it would amplify the effect. FCPS has recently jumped on the green initiative train and is starting to do more with recycling, cost savings, and conservation of electricity and power. 


As written on their website, “Frederick County Public Schools strives to be environmentally conscious.” 


With that being said, this plan to limit food waste really isn’t too far out of the picture, and could make its way into the FCPS system shortly. So far only about three schools have hopped on board, but that number is projected to rise the more attention the idea undertakes. 


The overall impact this plan could make would affect almost every aspect of the community. From the fresh food not being wasted and thrown into landfills, to the drastic limit of methane gas being released due to decaying foods. Even reaching the people in need and assisting them to a better life. Just imagine the impact this would make if we all cracked down on food waste and tried to repurpose out left over scraps.