From Green Right Now Reports

The Westside High cafeteria, where less food is being thrown out.

A student in Omaha, Neb., has identified a problem with school lunches — as well as a solution that could help solve an entrenched food waste issue in school cafeterias across the country.

In order to get the best price for a school lunch, kids are required to take one serving of a fruit or a vegetable to create a full meal. If they don’t, they can end up paying higher ala carte prices.

Student Kelli Schilken noticed that teenagers at her Westside High School were circumventing the rule by taking the fruit or vegetable and then tossing it, according to a story by KETV 7 in Omaha that’s been picked up by several news organizations.

Schilken flagged the waste and custodians confirmed it, reporting that they were throwing out the equivalent of three to four cases of uneaten fruit every day at the 800-student school.

And so was born a new program, which Schilken candidly called: “Fine, You Spoiled Brats, If You Won’t Eat That Apple We’ll Find Someone Who Will.”

School officials embraced her idea to collect the food so it could be donated to people in need. Now, students can donate their healthy side dish, instead of trashing it.

See the video story at the KETV website.

(Editor note: This story prompted some people to blame the latest overhaul of nutritional guidelines for school lunches. But we’re pretty sure this silly price break for a “full meal” composed of an entree with two sides pre-dates the latest rules. We’ll be checking on that. The new guidelines, however, may be aggravating the problem with their insistence on serving more whole fruits and vegetables, (yucky!), as well as the continued inclusion of pizza and french fries etc. that has persisted because of teen preferences and Congressional wavering on what can be counted as healthy.)