The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

New share bins reduce lunch waste and cultivate community

Emma Fry
A Carlmont student puts unwanted food in the share bins at lunchtime. The bins are sectioned into fruit/packaged snacks, cold food, hot food, and utensils and condiments. “Sometimes I put stuff in the share bin so others can have them,” said Vanessa McMahon.

With the initiative to tackle food waste and foster a community spirit, Carlmont has recently introduced share bins in the student union cafeteria.

These bins, strategically placed next to the lunch line, are designated spots where students can leave unopened and uneaten food items they don’t want, allowing others who may still be hungry to take what they need.

After observing lunchtime, school administrators noticed that students often left behind a substantial portion of school meals, such as unopened milk cartons, untouched fruit, and packaged snacks. The alarming amount of daily food waste as a result led Carlmont staff, such as Gail Horn, the food services leader at Carlmont, to innovate a solution to this issue. 

“We try to get students to stop throwing their unwanted food all over campus,” Horn said. “It takes a lot of time for custodians to clean up.”

The implementation of the share bins has allowed students who frequently discard food items because they don’t want to eat them to use the share bins instead, simultaneously preventing food waste and reducing trash for the custodians. 

“Sometimes I don’t feel like eating everything, which is why I put food items in the share bin so others can have them,” said sophomore Vanessa McMahon.

This initiative, which aligns with broader efforts to promote sustainability and social responsibility, has addressed the food waste issue and supported students who might need a little extra to eat.

“We saw perfectly good food wasted while knowing that some students might still be hungry or benefit from a little extra food,” Horn said. “The share bins seemed like a simple yet effective solution to both problems.”

However, students have mixed views on the share bins.

“It can be frustrating when we’re required to take food that we know we won’t end up eating,” McMahon said.

But, the majority still agree that lunchtime is better off with the new addition of these bins. The introduction of the share bins has sparked a noticeable change at lunch. Many students have started using the bins, placing their unwanted items there instead of tossing them.

“It’s great because sometimes I’m still hungry after finishing my lunch, and I can find food such as an apple in the share bin,” said sophomore Noor Nayar. “It’s also nice to know that if I can’t finish something, it won’t go to waste.”

Early results indicate that the bins are making a difference. According to the cafeteria staff, food waste has significantly decreased since the introduction of the bins. The sight of less food in the trash and more in the share bins has been encouraging for everyone involved.

“The share bins have become a symbol of students caring about other students,” Nayar said.

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About the Contributor
Emma Fry
Emma Fry, Staff Writer
Emma Fry (class of 2026) is a sophomore at Carlmont High School and a first-year writer for Scot Scoop. She is a member of Carlmont's cheer team and loves spending time with her friends and family. In her free time, she enjoys going to the beach and traveling.

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