“In February, a trash audit at the Pell Elementary School in Newport recovered 238 pounds of food scrap from a single day. The collected food included 45 pounds of unopened yogurt containers, cheese sticks and raisins, and untouched fruit,” Tim Faulkner of ecoRI news writes this week in Food Scrap Being Wasted at Rhode Island Schools.

The results of that trash audit prompted Representative Lauren Carson (D. Dist. 75, Newport) to file a bill (H7699) that would require school waste haulers and other vendors to comply with state recycling and composting laws.

“That’s the waste from just one school in one day”, Representative Carson told What’sUpNewp on Thursday. “Something needs to be done”.

Newport Public Schools participates in the Federal Free and Reduced meal program, over 60 percent of the lunches served in Rhode Island through that program are served free or at the reduced price.

This bill as submitted would require schools to comply with composting and recycling laws, would promote the donation of unspoiled nonperishable food by schools, and would promote the selection of local food service companies for school food service contracts.

Representative Carson believes that incentives should be considered for businesses that do the right thing when it comes to composting and recycling, she expects the bill filed to see a few changes as things are added and removed to get this right.

Carson also started a House food recovery study commission that intends to issue a report on recovery incentives by the end of June.

ecoRI news reports that “Newport and other municipalities are working with their school districts to come up with waste and food recovery plans for the 2018-19 school year.”

David Hanos, Chair of Newport School Committee, could not be immediately reached for comment on this story.

According to the National Resources Defense Council, up to 40 percent of the food in the United States is never eaten. But at the same time, one in eight Americans struggles to put enough food on the table.

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Ryan M. Belmore

Ryan M. Belmore is the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp. Ryan is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and serves on the Board of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and Lucy's Hearth. Send questions, tips, and story ideas to Ryan@whatsupnewp.com.