Colleges/Universities and K-12 Schools

To reduce the amount of food scraps discarded by campuses, many institutions have implemented environmental programs that address sustainable practices.

Model Programs in California


  • Fresno State has partnered with Fresno Metro Ministry to recover surplus food and deliver it to hungry people in disadvantaged communities. This project is also part of the Food Recovery Network. On campus waste reduction and diversion efforts include composting farm waste and exploring expansions into food service waste composting.
  • Loyola Marymount University (LMU). LMU conserves water and saves money through sustainable design and practices.
  • UC Davis Dining Services‘ sustainability program reduces waste by composting, and recycling, as well as reducing use of water, energy, fuel, and natural resources. Food scraps are collected at several areas around the campus and turned into compost at the Student Farm. Pre- and post-consumer food waste and other organic materials are collected and shipped to a composting facility where it is turned into compost for farms and vineyards. For additional information, see UC Davis’s composting case studies.
  • UC Davis’s dual-stage anaerobic digester technology, invented by Professor Ruihong Zhang, converts agricultural waste materials, greenwaste, and leftover food scraps into a fuel mixture. This technology is used to conserve energy and reduce landfill use, thus reducing greenhouse gases.
  • UC Merced is committed to achieving zero landfill waste by 2020. This program includes pre and post-consumer food waste
  • UC San Francisco’s campus wide recycling program encourages reducing, reusing, and recycling. The program includes kiosks encouraging best practices. 
  • University of Southern California in Los Angeles, is a leading private research university. They have instituted waste diversion practices to include construction and demolition debris. In 2009 560 tons that were generated on campus was completely recycled. USC’s Office of Sustainability was established in 2008, and implements sustainable practices on campus while developing innovative outreach and educational programs for the university and local community. Sustainable efforts include Game Day activities that further capture recyclable materials. Recycling and food waste bins are located throughout the campus and student volunteers help to keep this material out of the landfills.
  • Food Waste Prevention on Campus: UC Berkeley and Boston College use specialized software to reduce food waste generation on campus.

K-12 Schools

  • Christa McAuliffe Elementary, school in Oceanside is one of the schools participating in the City of Oceanside’s Zero Waste School Program. These important efforts involve educating children about the value of environmental stewardship by practicing waste diversion.
  • City of San Francisco Recycling Program Food to Flowers! Lunchroom composting program. Over 140 schools have implemented a food scrap collection program. With the help of the program’s hauler, each of the schools designed a food scrap program that encompassed education, outreach, organics collection for off-site composting, and some vermicomposting. The compost produced is sold to local farmers and vineyards, and given to schools with gardens. A few times a year, compost is given away free to residents.  YouTube Video
  • Ramona High School Eco-Leaders partnered with the County of San Diego and Ramona Unified School District to start a pilot program to include source reduction methods, food donation and food scraps to animal feed, as well as onsite composting. In 2015, 7.5 tons of matter was diverted from the landfill. The finished product is used onsite as mulch and to amend the garden soil at Dawg Patch Garden, a participant in the Edible School Yard program.