Biodiversity / Food / Water

November 23, 2005


Waste-to-Food Composting Program Adopted for School Lunch

Keywords: Food Local government Reduce / Reuse / Recycle 

A Waste-to-Food composting program has been underway in Toyonaka City, Osaka Prefecture since 2004, with the help of local farmers, the municipal government, and a non-profit organization. Under the program, food waste from school lunches are composted together with branches pruned from trees in parks and along streets. The resulting compost is used as fertilizer to grow vegetables, which then become ingredients for school meals. The first such vegetables were served at school lunches in June 2005.

Adopting an idea from a citizen¡Çs group, the city turned the composting program into a business and started full operation of a compost facility in 2004. In the city, two food service facilities prepare about 20,000 meals a day for 37 elementary schools and nearly one ton of food waste is generated every day from those facilities and schools. In fiscal 2004, 74 tons of food scraps from cooking ended up being composted along with 64 tons of leftovers from lunches under the program.

The local farmers and citizens make use of the compost produced under the program. The program's first experiment was to grow green onions. They were later added in soup served at school lunches and the children were reported to have enjoyed the meal. The city hopes the program will help raise public awareness of the fact that leftover food can be converted into a useful resource rather than being thrown away.

There are some issues that still need to be resolved, such as how to ensure sufficient participation of farmers in the urban area. Meanwhile, rice grown using the compost is expected to be served at school lunches toward the end of 2005.

Posted: 2005/11/23 08:51:12 PM
Japanese version