Urban Schools Aim for Environmental Revolution

For a few weeks last spring, a handful of schools in Miami have been eating their meals from round, colorless plates with four compartments for food and a fifth compartment for milk. Even if these plates (made from sugar cane) still have food on them, they can be thrown away and turned into compost. If all goes as planned with these compostable plates, they will replace plastic foam lunch trays by September not just for the 345,000 students in the Miami-Dade County school system, but also for more than 2.6 million others nationwide. An alliance called the Urban School Food Alliance which includes public school systems in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and Orlando, Fla. are using these plates and are hoping for a huge turn out.“We want to set the tone for the marketplace, rather than having the marketplace tell us what’s available.” said a member of the alliance. The alliance has other projects too such as the following: Healthier food. The alliance is already looking at potential suppliers of antibiotic-free chicken. Health benefits and bettering the environment are not the only goals of the alliance. Their goal is also to sets an example that students may carry into adulthood.By the alliance succeeding, nutrition and sustainability policies across the nation could be changed. But, this project is not easy. Sugar-cane plates take longer to make and require more machinery to produce in volume but, the demand for compost is high.

Valerie Macaulay 2015