Closing the Loop on Food Waste at School

Mindful Waste brings food waste education to the school level, teaching students about the resources required to get their food from field to fork. We empower them with knowledge and positive choices: they can eat their food, share it, or compost it. All are good options for their bodies and the planet - and they beat the landfill hands down.

The Food Waste Problem

Schools are a significant contributor to the food waste problem in the US.

4 Billion

US schools serve more than 4 billion school lunches per year via the National School Lunch Program.

13 Million

13 million children in the US face hunger.

530K Tons

Waste from US school lunches totals approximately 530,000 tons (over one million pounds) each school year, which averages 180 days. (About 3,000 tons per day.)

This school waste represents:

1.9M metric tons of CO2 equivalent greenhouse gas (GHG)

20.9 billion gallons of water

$1.7 billion U.S. dollars

If we don’t provide food recovery and compost options at school,
we’re teaching children that food waste is acceptable.

Composting Education

Recycling scraps into soil.

We teach students, teachers, staff, and administrators the how and the why behind food scrap composting. Composting keeps food out of landfills – where it generates greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change – and puts its nutrients back into the soil. It’s recycling at its best: using food to enrich soil, so that more food can be grown again. 

Cafeteria Waste Audits

Waste audits reveal what’s in a school’s waste stream.

We partner with student groups to sort cafeteria waste into five categories: recoverable food, liquids, recyclables, compostables and landfill waste. We weigh everything together, and ask the students to make observations about what they learned. Students are always amazed by the results! For schools looking to identify areas for improvement, this is the ideal first step.

Food Recovery

Connecting food with those in need.

Our food recovery programs keep food out of landfills and into the hands of those in need – a true win-win. We partner schools with local hunger relief agencies – food pantries, senior living facilities, residential programs, and more – and train students on how to safely recover food. We also provide signage, bins, refrigerators and coolers for transport.

Project Foot Print

K-8 Curriculum

Project FoodPrint.

Every bite of food has a dozen stories to tell. Our curriculum engages students in these tales of where their food comes from, where it ends up and what happens to it along the way. By taking an active role in this story, kids understand how their food choices impact their health, their community and the environment. For lessons, please contact us.


Share the worm love with your students.

Our worms, your school. We provide worm bins, bedding and care instructions. Your students can enjoy the wonder of a worm bin without the long-term commitment.



We collaborated with the Wasted Food Action Alliance to create a guide for schools interested in reducing food waste. It’s an excellent resource, and we encourage you to check it out!