Crocker Farm Steals Trash Free Lunch Title from Wildwood
Trash Free Lunch Day at the elementary schools in Amherst is getting contentious. During the third annual event last Friday, Wildwood School beat its previous record by 11%, creating a mere 5.75 pounds of trash during the lunch period. But Crocker Farm School managed to produce 87% less trash (by weight) than Wildwood; Crocker’s 257 students reduced their normal lunchtime trash volume by 45% to an astounding ¾ pound.
Conscientious home lunch packers at both schools and Whitson’s Culinary Group, the contracted school food service provider who partners in the event with the Amherst Department of Public Works, deserve credit as well. Many home lunches avoided unnecessary snack packaging and were packed using reusable or compostable materials. Whitson’s designed a special utensil-free cafeteria lunch for the day, provided compostable alternatives to plastic knives and straws and emphasized the use of washable plastic trays.
Composting is a key success factor at both schools, as food waste is typically the heaviest component of cafeteria trash. Milk cartons were also excluded from the waste barrel, as they may be composted or recycled. Crocker Farm School has been diligently separating compost this year due to the efforts of Ritsuka Mastroianni, a kindergarten paraprofessional who recently received a grant to build an on-site animal proof composting bin at the school.
Although Wildwood has 154 more students, Crocker Farm remains the winner when per capita volume is calculated (.29 vs. .21 cubic inches produced per student). Reducing school waste cuts waste removal costs and conserves space at regional landfills.
For additional information contact Amherst Recycling Coordinator Susan Waite at 413-259-3049.