Recognizing that each main dish in the school lunch was served in foam, plastic, or paper containers became a reason to have students solve the problem of cafeteria waste.
At South Middle School, students Amelia Vasquez and Lisa Yang noticed how full the trashcans were at the end of each period, and began to ask questions. They asked cafeteria staff, food service directors, and school district leaders. They came up with a solution. They proposed using sectioned trays, instead of flat trays that need individual food containers.
“By using trays with sections in them, we wouldn’t have to use all the disposable plastics,” Yang said. “And people could just put their food in there and dump out their trays when they’re done eating.”
Vasquez and Yang made a formal proposal to the Lawrence School Board. They reported that over 250,000 single use containers and plastic bags are used in a school year. This costs the school between $100 and $300 each month. The conclusion was that by switching to sectioned trays, the district could reduce waste and save money.