The Effects of Food Waste at DVC

Currently, at Da Vinci,  tons of food is being wasted. Walking around at lunch, students see trash cans full of unopened and uneaten food. Students eat what they want and toss the rest. They don’t realize how much they’re wasting, but there are ways to fix this problem. 


The main problem is the type of food. People won’t eat something they don’t like. For example, every fun lunch comes with a Ziploc of veggies, which some people don’t eat. Instead of creating unnecessary waste like this, the veggies should be individually packed and placed outside of the fun lunch bag so if someone wanted to enjoy them, they could grab them. 


Another change we can make to help stop the food waste here at DVC is to serve food the students want to eat. An effective way to make this change is to send a survey out asking what we want to see more of. Every time nachos or cheese sticks are served, the hot food line is super long. On other days, the cold food line is long, and if you’re not down there in less than five minutes, everything will run out. The amount of cold food provided isn’t enough for the student body, therefore students are forced to eat either the hot lunch or nothing. A majority of students don’t find the hot food appetizing. 


DVC junior Naeema Fontain is one of the starters of the survey going around about changing the lunch providers. She gets the vegetarian option most days, which is almost always a bean burger. Imagine having only one thing offered to you while other students receive multiple options. The lack of diversity of food offered to vegan/ vegetarian students is unfair. There needs to be a more inclusive menu. 


She would like to, “…make sure that students who couldn’t bring their own lunch were actually getting quality food from school. Though I believe that the school has somewhat expanded it’s vegetarian options, it still repeats the same three meals. It’s also not promoted so a lot of vegetarian students don’t know about it.” 


Starting this school year, the state of California has guaranteed free lunch and breakfast to all students. While this is a great thing, the quality of food has gone downhill.  Students are constantly talking about how the food before the pandemic was enjoyable. Carla Javier, an author for the LAist stated, “Universal school meals like these have been a goal of school nutrition advocates for a long time. Supporters say making meals available to everyone reduces the stigma of taking a meal, and helps get more healthy food to more kids.” 


While the intention of these school nutrition advocates is right, it still has its negative effects. Some people took advantage of this privilege by taking more than they needed, eating what they wanted out of the grab-and-go meal, and then tossing multiples of the same thing. This is another big contributing factor to food waste. 


All of this waste affects our environment as a whole. Food waste ends up in landfills producing a large amount of methane. World Wildlife Fund wrote,“…wasted food isn’t just a social or humanitarian concern—it’s an environmental one. When we waste food, we also waste all the energy and water it takes to grow, harvest, transport, and package it. And if food goes to the landfill and rots, it produces methane—a greenhouse gas even more potent than carbon dioxide.” 


Overall, our actions have consequences. Whether people are throwing away Ziploc bags of celery or large bags of frozen chicken, it affects our environment as a whole. The best way to make changes here at Da Vinci and to stop contributing to food waste is to voice the opinions of the students. After all, they are the ones eating the school lunch.