A private school principal in China is gaining attention for his controversial method of warning his students against food waste — by eating their leftovers.
The situation: Principal Wang Yongxin, from a secondary school in Qiyang, Hunan province, is seen in a viral video standing near the school’s cafeteria with a pair of chopsticks, ready to stop them from throwing away their meals.
- While some students looked on as he’d eat away at their leftovers, others finished eating where they’d left off.
- “I want to set an example for the kids, letting them know that it’s wrong to waste food. My behavior has not only surprised the children but also teachers,” he told local newspaper Xiaoxang Morning Post.
- The 58-year-old head of the school revealed that the leftovers have made up three of his meals per day.
- “Some children finished their food when they saw me eating their classmates’ leftovers. Now some of them voluntarily tell the staff how much food they need, which helps reduce waste,” he added.
The controversy: The reactions online ranged from praise for Wang’s role model behavior to criticism of the health risks posed by the stunt, reported South China Morning Post.
- “It’s good to be frugal, but eating others’ leftovers is a bad example for epidemic control. Maybe they should think of other ways to educate the students,” said one user on Weibo.
- But, Wang doesn’t see the problem. He explained, “It’s all from the same kitchen. All the students and teachers eat here. I regard the kids as my own, so there is no boundary in my mind.”
Earlier this year, China passed a law to fine restaurants and their patrons for leaving excessive leftovers, following the government’s ongoing effort to address the growing food waste problem. Livestream binge-eating shows have also been banned as a result.