JCCC Honors Journal


Food waste and food insecurity are vastly different, yet inextricably linked, social, economic, and environmental problems which afflict societies throughout the world. This study contributes to the literature on individual awareness, attitudes, and behaviors to these problems through a student-led waste audit centered on food at Johnson County Community College. Pre-surveys indicated nearly 95% of individuals placed at least moderate to extreme importance on the generation of food waste in their dining decisions, while post-surveys found that 84% of respondents were surprised by the type and/or volume of waste found in cafeteria landfill bins on campus. Qualitative interview analysis suggests that events like the waste audit performed, when in the centered in the context of food, are helpful to students’ understanding of food waste and food insecurity as issues. Recommendations going further suggest continuing to use waste audits structured with curricular development to help bring education and awareness to food waste and insecurity.