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Night custodian reveals the amount of food discarded by schools, sparking discussion on global hunger

While the world is grappling with increasing statistics of hunger among children, there are places where food is getting discarded without any thought.

Night custodian reveals the amount of food discarded by schools, sparking discussion on global hunger
Cover Image Source: Pexels | Markus Spiske

We are aware that a lot of children and adults around the world starving and the awareness about this fact should inspire us to use our resources in a better manner. We should not resort to wasting food and discarding anything that we simply don't feel like eating. However, this practice is not being followed at a larger scale to have an impact. A night custodian, u/spider_manectric, took to the subreddit r/mildlyinfuriating to uncover an infuriating truth about school food. The revelation came with a picture of a trashcan full of milk cartons. They shared, "About half of this 50-gallon trash can is full of perfectly good cartons of milk expiration date is in 2 weeks. Schools waste a lot of food. These were ice cold to the touch."

Image Source: Reddit | u/spider_manectric
Image Source: Reddit | u/spider_manectric

They disclosed in the comments, "I work nights and have no working relationship with anybody at the school outside of the other custodians. I'm also not employed by the school, I'm a contracted employee working for a company that provides services to schools. I'm also not angry. I'm sad."

This sad and disheartening reality of food wastage was not uncommon as many Reddit users shared similar experiences. A lunch lady shared her insight into the large amount of food wastage at schools. "The school (admin) expects us to throw away all uneaten food. Every kid in the district is entitled to one breakfast and lunch regardless of their lunch account balance being negative which I think is pretty nice. However, the school I work for (jh/hs) flat out refuses to give me a daily lunch count so I can try to minimize food waste, instead tells me 'don't worry, we budget for thrown-out food.' So, because I'm terrified of not having enough food for everyone, I always have to cook extra. There are times I am left with 30+ extra servings even with studying the lunch count trend for the week and trying to adjust to what I think would leave me with just enough left over for seconds," wrote u/daffodilfae.

Image Source: Reddit | u/Ok_Department5949
Image Source: Reddit | u/Ok_Department5949

"Anyways, if a kid is negative like $2, but wants seconds to the surplus of food you better believe I tell them to just take it. If my boss/admin/audit saw me do it I would get fired immediately, but I'll happily get fired knowing I didn't deprive a hungry kid of food that's going to waste. One of my coworkers has pet pigs, we smuggle out all the leftovers for her in trash bags to feed them which we'd also get fired for but hey, at least it's going towards something," she added.

Hopefully, this isn't a reality for all schools as some even share a different side of the coin. "We let our students take extra food, we also run a community food bank out of the school. In spite of all of this, we still waste so much. It's insane. The problem is milk, it's such a wasteful product in general and most of the kids don't even want it. We need to break the weird ties schools have to single-serving milk cartons," shared u/WILSON_CK.

Image Source: Reddit | u/WILSON_CK
Image Source: Reddit | u/WILSON_CK

Some schools have made initiatives to prevent food waste. Some elementary schools compost their food waste to produce biofuel and fertilizer, diverting an average of 2,500 pounds of food waste from landfills each month while teaching students about more sustainable eating habits. The World Wildlife Fund also performed research on how to reduce the amount of milk kids waste by using a milk dispenser instead of individual cartons. Regrettably, all of these alternatives are dependent on a cooperating administration and call for a huge change in the mindsets of individuals in power.

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