By Shannon Frost Greenstein

The School District of Philadelphia has taken a large step towards reducing the amount of waste it produces.

Beginning last month, the district began a partnership with the Urban School Food Alliance to purchase compostable lunch trays for its students.  It will, officials project, save over nine million pieces of plastic foam from ending up in landfills annually.  The plates are made from 100 % recycled paper fibers.

Typically, the compostable plates would be too expensive for the city; however, thanks to the Urban School Food Alliance, they are able to be purchased in bulk for nearly the same cost.  Additionally, the plates are sturdier and better designed to hold more food.

A marketing campaign with student environmental clubs is currently underway to design a strategy to raise awareness about the plates and other initiatives to boost recycling.  The district also plans a pilot program at Saul High School to compost the plates themselves.

“This initiative aligns with GreenFutures, the district’s overall sustainability plan and advances the District’s work in reducing our environmental impact,” says Vice President of Food Services Wayne T. Grasela.


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