The Portland, Maine public school system has banned the use of lunch trays containing
single-use polystyrene in all cafeterias and meal distribution programs.
The school district will now be using lunch trays constructed of paperboard manufactured in Maine. While the new trays will cost the school system more money to purchase, the price is being offset by funds saved during the last school year as part of a comprehensive waste reduction and waste recycling program which greatly reduced waste disposal costs for the district. It is estimated that the school diverted close to thirty thousand tons of waste from landfills as a result of the program.
The new, locally made and environmental friendly lunch trays will be in place when school resumes in September. The district has over seven thousands students enrolled in grades K-12 and has traditionally used almost half a million single-use lunch trays each school year. The switch will reduce further the amount of waste that can be recycled versus school waste that must be disposed of in landfills.
The school district’s goal is to divert as much as seventy percent of waste to recycling efforts. The cost savings in reduced disposal fees will help to fund greener options for the schools such as the paperboard lunch trays. The school system also believes that the recycling program allows students learn valuable lessons about environmental stewardship by showing how small actions can result in big changes for everyone.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: If you’re involved with your community’s school system, take a moment to learn more about their waste disposal and waste recycling efforts. Making some changes can result in big savings for schools and local taxpayers!