In the U.S., approximately 63 million tons of food are lost or wasted each year, while one in seven Americans, including 13.1 million children, live in food insecure households.3 An estimated 40 percent of food waste in the U.S. occurs in consumer-facing businesses such as retailers, restaurants, hospitality, and institutions like schools. Through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP), U.S. schools serve approximately 30 million lunches and 14.6 million breakfasts each day to eligible students, at an annual cost of about $17.8 billion federal dollars.
But how much of that federally-funded food winds up in the trash?
With so much food moving through schools each day, there is a huge opportunity to work with students, teachers, food service providers, cafeteria staff, and more, to fight waste and inspire change in both institutions and young people. Schools can use their cafeterias as classrooms and help students understand the connection between what they eat and their planet, and forge lifelong stewardship habits.
Today, we use the natural resources of 1.5 planets, depleting ecological goods and services faster than nature can replenish them. This is having a huge impact on nature and people, and threatening our very future. Better production will be vital if 9 billion people are to share this planet and its resources, equitably and sustainably, in the coming decades.
The Living Planet Report documents the state of the planet—including biodiversity, ecosystems, and demand on natural resources—and what this means for humans and wildlife. Published by WWF every two years, the report brings together a variety of research to provide a comprehensive view of the health of the earth.