Green Team United

Environmental Students, Teachers, The Green Team, and The Hawai’i Kōkua Foundation Unite to Audit Food Waste.

Krysta Bacani, Reporter/Illustrator

There are approximately 3,200 students attending James Campbell High School (JCHS), making it the most populated school in the state of Hawai’i. In order to quantify how much food is wasted by students, Noel Hakoda, a science teacher at JCHS, and the JCHS Green Team have united to run a two-day food audit during the lunch period.

Illustration by Krytsa Bacani.

Students on campus were encouraged to participate in the event on February 22 and March 1. Based on where the most foot traffic is during lunch, the Green Team has decided to set up eleven stations for students to sort their garbage. There will be three buckets used to separate lunches: one for food, one for milk, and one for the miscellaneous (bones, meat, plastic, etc). Because this project is primarily student driven, the majority of the people assisting will be student volunteers from JCHS. 

After the collection period, the Green Team will compile data to determine what the school can collectively reduce and reuse waste. Avoiding items such as wrapped snacks, plastic utensils, bottled/canned drinks, and processed meals would be a dramatic step for JCHS towards attaining waste-free lunches. Actions could be taken to donate an overabundance of food to piggeries or to use food surpluses by developing a compost for the school’s agricultural divisions.

Inspired by the documentary “Wasted,” Hakoda and the Green Team, partnered with the Hawai’i Kōkua Foundation to plan and execute the audit. “Wasted” was produced by Anthony Bourdain; the film explores how food is squandered, how it affects people, and how to reduce the amount of rubbish.

“I feel strongly that my students should get the opportunity to make a difference on their campus,” Hakoda said. “I really believe in student-driven learning.” Since her class was moved by the documentary, they chose to do the food waste audit in order to apply what they learned from the documentary and their environmental course.

The Green Team also got involved. “I would talk to Hanakahi (club advisor),” Korey Dodd, vice-president of the Green Team, said. “Then Hakoda brought it up to us how she’s going to bring in someone from Kōkua Foundation.” With assistance from the Kōkua Foundation their food audit “slowly started to progress into something.”