A Secondary School Principal Encourages the Students to Consume Their Food and to Reduce Food Waste by Eating Their Leftovers


A video of a secondary school principal in China went viral when he imposed an unusual method of discouraging food waste – by eating their leftover food.

Principal Wang Yongxin from a secondary school in the city of Qiyang, Hunan, made the headlines recently when video footage went viral of him standing near the school cafeteria waste bins holding his own chopsticks. As the students approach him, he inspects their plates then eats the leftover food if the student no longer wants to consume them.

A screenshot from the video that went viral showing Wang eating a student’s leftovers. Image credits: TVBS/YouTube

Some of the students who did not finish their meal watched as their principal ate their leftovers. Other students chose to finish their food upon seeing the peculiar move of the principal to save him (and them) the embarrassment.

Setting a good example, according to Mr. Wang

The daring principal told news outlets that he would like to set an example to students that food should never go to waste at all times. If the student no longer wants to consume the leftover food then he would finish them himself.

“I want to set an example for the kids, letting them know that it’s wrong to waste food,” he said. “My behavior has not only surprised the children but also teachers.”

Wang also revealed that by finishing the leftover food, he manages to have the equivalent of 3 meals in a day. Additionally, he was able to convince the students to only take food that they can fully consume to avoid waste.

“Some children finished their food when they saw me eating their classmates’ leftovers,” he explained. “Now some of them voluntarily tell the staff how much food they need, which helps reduce waste.”

Image credit: New Security Beat

Principal Wang’s unusual way of discouraging waste in the school came shortly after the Chinese government implemented a law that would penalize food establishments, and customers as well, who recklessly waste food leftovers.

Additionally, China has banned any binge-eating videos on live streaming websites due to the government’s admission of a very real food waste problem.

According to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences reports, restaurants in China have discarded between 17 to 18 million tons of wasted food annually, which would have been enough to feed between 30 to 50 million people in the country.

If China’s food waste problems won’t stop due to the shrinking of the farming sector, the country may be facing a food shortage problem of around 130 million tons by 2025, a news outlet said.

Not the proper way to set an example

Of course, a well-intentioned move does not come without criticism from citizens. They slammed the principal’s actions by stating that as he sends a message, he compromises every person’s hygiene.

“It’s good to be frugal, but eating others’ leftovers is a bad example for epidemic control,” a commenter on the Chinese social media site Weibo said. “Maybe they should think of other ways to educate students.”

“It seems the Chinese people’s concept of hygiene needs to be improved! Even this principal neglects hygiene so much,” another commenter on YouTube said. “No surprise that China often has plagues.”

Credits to: TVBS/YouTube

In response to the criticisms, Principal Wang said that the food is contained in only one central location of the school and no problems have arisen from his peculiar move.

“It’s all from the same kitchen,” he said. “All the students and teachers eat here. I regard the kids as my own, so there’s no boundary in my mind.”

Even with his noble intentions, there have been doubts from citizens regarding his unusual teaching. The world is still affected by the pandemic. He can simply tell the students to avoid taking too much food more than what they can consume.


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