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Working to Reduce Cafeteria Waste

February 1, 2018

What it comes to waste in school, the cafeteria is the top source. In an effort to go green, many schools are overhauling their bulk food services and choosing to buy local and organic ingredients instead. Unfortunately, that can be expensive and unrealistic for smaller schools. Luckily, there are plenty of inexpensive (if not cost-saving) ways small schools can reduce cafeteria waste. 

Get Rid of Trays

A large tray subconsciously encourages students to take as much food as they can carry, which is usually more than they can eat. By eliminating trays, schools can cut down on food waste and the number of dishes being washed.

Switch to Green-to-Go Containers

Plastic and styrofoam containers are some of the largest contributors of waste in America. Styrofoam is made from polystyrene, which is a petroleum-based plastic that never breaks down. However, green-to-go containers are made from 100% natural plant material and are recyclable and compostable.

Use Silverware

Just like containers, disposable utensils can be incredibly wasteful. Instead of buying plastic forks, spoons and knives annually, order reusable metal silverware. In a study of two Minnetonka middle schools, the Environmental Assistance Grant Program found that in the first year, the schools saved a combined $3,000 by buying reusable utensils and bowls. The annual per-student costs for food are also dropped from $6.89 to $4.83.

Instal Hand Dryers

It’s no surprise that cafeteria workers are constantly washing their hands. And if they’re using paper towels after each wash, that can add up to a lot of wasted paper. Energy efficient hand dryers will cut down on the use of hand towels.  


For over 60 years, Nickerson Corporation has been supplying educational furniture and equipment to schools in New York and New Jersey. From traditional classroom and cafeteria furniture to lockers and drywall, we offer a variety of furniture solutions to ensure that your school functions to its utmost potential. For more information on how we can help, contact us at (631) 666-0200 today!