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Students in Charlotte, N.C. cut food waste 58%, will work with companies

Staff Writer |
Students at the British International School of Charlotte (BISC) have undertaken a project to collect data in order to understand food waste in Charlotte.

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Working with researchers from MIT as well as local businesses, students collected and analysed data on food wasted in the city as part of the Data-Driven Curiosity Challenge designed by MIT.

Using the results from their analysis, students will educate members of their school and community about this ongoing issue.

Working in groups, students researched the causes and effects of food waste in local businesses in the city and their school.

Partnering with Crown Town Compost, a local recycling company and other various businesses including Trader Joe's, Earth Farms, McDonald's, Red Robin, Publix, Harris Teeter, Food Lion, Earth Fare and the Charlotte Douglas International Airport, students monitored the amount of compostable food that went unused and ended up in landfills.

In total, they contacted 12 businesses in the city. Amongst other revelations, students discovered that 1000 pounds of food is wasted every month by the Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

Students also collected data about food waste in their school which led them to discover that only 19% of their cafeteria food was diverted from the landfill.

As a result, students led a composting and recycling drive during lunch time and reduced their food waste by 58%.

The activity is the second phase of a three-part annual challenge created by MIT experts based on STEAM subjects and the scientific method.

The first part of the challenge encouraged students' to think critically and follow their curiosity.

In the final stage of the challenge students will design and build creative solutions to present to local businesses on ways to reduce food waste in the city.

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