Gov. Jerry Brown last week signed a new law that will allow the Los Angeles Unified School District to donate uneaten food to food banks instead of discarding it.
Each day, LAUSD students throw out at least $100,000 worth of food, which works out to about 600 tons of organic waste daily, the Los Angeles Times reported. The district pushed for the law that Brown has now signed.
The new law allows campuses to collect unopened items and untouched fruit and donate them to food banks.
Students pass up school food for a lot of reasons, according to The Times. At L.A. Unified, some complain that entrees lose flavor because they’re cooked in a central kitchen and then reheated on campuses. Additionally, federal law makes students take food they might not want because the food trays have to meet nutritional guidelines.
The new law isn’t the first to try to reduce school food waste. Another allows schools to donate food that was never served to students.
Many schools also now have set up share tables, where students can leave unopened food and untouched fruit for their hungrier classmates. The new law allows share-table leftovers to be given to food banks.
L.A. Unified Food Service Director Joseph Vaughn called the changes “fantastic” because they remove “several barriers that have made it difficult to donate food,” The Times reported.