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Waste Reduction
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True Food, No Waste

True Food, No Waste
Recycling at school can inspire students to care about the planet, to examine the resources that we use to make our world sustainable, and to look at the consequences of using resources and generating pollution and waste. Learning these lifelong skills at a young age will ensure that these basics will become a custom and taught to the generations to come.
During the 2018-2019 school year, MPS was the recipient of a $50,000 School Recycling Grant from Hennepin County! Twelve Schools received new equipment and resources to begin or improve their school's recycling program. This year, another two schools will receive equipment for recycling and organics collection. Other schools interested in improving recycling efforts are encouraged to use this page as a resource. During the 2019-2020 school year MPS is hosting a GreenCorps member that is available to assist schools with recycling education, resources, and data tracking.


In an effort to reduce food waste, additional signage has been implemented informing students to only take what they can eat. Signage has also been developed to remind staff and students that milk is option at meal time, not a requirement. Back of house operations are also working on food waste prevention education and best practices.


Many schools have share tables in the cafeteria. Efforts are being taken to standardize the appearance, increase communications, and develop better signage for share tables in all cafeterias.
We are also starting food donation of excess meals by partnering with Second Harvest through the Meal Connect platform at twelve MPS schools. Leftovers can be reused to feed people in need in the schools' communities. Learn more about our food at work. Last year, in a pilot with just three schools, nearly 1,000 pounds of food was saved and able to be reused. 


At present, 35 of 70 MPS schools separate their cafeteria waste into food scraps, recycling, and trash, enabling food scraps to be collected for composting off-site. MPS has received significant resources through the School Recycling Grant from Hennepin County which was used to work towards standardizing waste-sorting protocols, equipment, and education across the district. In 2019 two schools will receive equipment to start or improve recycling collection at lunch through the Hennepin County School Recycling Grant. In 2018 MPS was the recipient of a $50,000 used to expand organics recycling to include ten additional schools and improve the programming at two.
Contact for in-school presentations or attendance at events:
Eliza Pessereau
MPS Culinary & Wellness Services, eliza.pessereau@mpls.k12.mn.us; 612-668-2859
Kira Berglund
Hennepin County, kira.berglund@hennepin.us; 612-596-1498
Kellie Kish
City of Minneapolis, kellie.kish@minneapolismn.gov; 612-673-3536
Michelle Howard
City of Minneapolis, michelle.howard@minneapolismn.gov; 612-673-2789
Have questions about MPS True Food, No Waste efforts or want to get involved? Contact:
Eliza Pessereau
MPS Culinary & Wellness Services, GreenCorps Member

Click to read about our plan.