This Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) site is focused on food waste prevention and reduction for facilities (e.g. schools, hospitals, etc.) with on-site food service operations.

Included in the section on K-12 Schools are archived materials from the past US EPA Region 5 funded project, the Green Lunchroom Challenge. This was a voluntary pledge program for K-12 schools to improve the sustainability of their food service operations. The Challenge involved suggested activities ranging in complexity and commitment, to allow participants to best suit their situation, budget and available community resources. Participants earned points for documentation of completed activities, and were recognized as having achieved different levels of accomplishment. Though funding for the project has ended and ISTC no longer accepts submissions of activity documentation, compiles participant points, or recognizes levels of accomplishment, schools may still benefit from implementing the suggested activities for food waste reduction and prevention offered on this site and use them to guide their own sustainability efforts.

Because the suggestions developed for school food waste reduction could often be adapted for other institutions with food service operations, ISTC technical assistance providers frequently referred clients from other sectors to the original Green Lunchroom Challenge project site. Now, on this more broadly focused food waste reduction site, we will be adding recommendations and resources geared toward other institutions (e.g. hospitals, universities, prisons, etc.) to help a variety of organizations “accept the challenge” to prevent and reduce food waste in their operations.

To learn more about how ISTC can assist your organization with all aspects of waste reduction and prevention, see https://tap.istc.illinois.edu/programs/zero-waste/, or contact  Joy Scrogum.

The words "Green Lunchroom Challenge" appear next to the white images of a knife and fork crossed in an X formation, all on a yellow-green background