Plastic Free Lunch Day 2023

Creating A Plastic Free Culture with Cafeteria Culture and Urban School Food Alliance!

Creating A

Plastic Free Culture!

The first Plastic Free Lunch Day (PFLD) was spearheaded by fifty-six PS 15 fifth-graders in Red Hook Brooklyn, as portrayed in Cafeteria Culture’s award-winning student-led movie, Microplastic Madness . By eliminating plastic utensils, drinking cups, and condiment packets, the PS 15 students reduced lunchtime single-use plastics by 558 items!

What is Plastic Free Lunch Day? An action day to reduce as much plastic as possible. A way to protect the environment and student health. Provide a glimpse of a plastic-free school cafeteria future.

Cafeteria Culture and Urban School

Food Alliance (USFA), representing 18 of the

largest US school districts, invite you to join New York City, Dallas, San Diego, Portland Ore, Chicago (Aramark schools), and hundreds of schools across the country for another Plastic Free Lunch Day USA! Schools and students everywhere are invited to participate in a plastic free lunch action on April 19, 2023. Read on! We show you how! Together, on a single day, we will eliminate or reduce single-use plastic foodware in school cafeterias to protect student health and the environment. It is our hope that one plastic free day leads to another...

A way to connect with students everywhere, who are taking plastic reduction & climate action in their cafeteria.

Nationwide, school cafeterias serve 7.35 billion meals annually , making a large contribution to the global plastic waste stream. School lunches are loaded with single-use plastics, such as plastic wrap, utensils, utensil wrap, cups, lids, bowls, straws, condiment packets, cartons, chip & snack bags, baggies, clamshells and styrofoam trays. Collectively, US school cafeterias have the potential to significantly reduce plastic pollution. Most plastic is not recycled and ends up in landfills or the environment. And because plastic does not biodegrade, it stays around for centuries, endlessly fragmenting into small pieces, first microplastics, then nanoplastics. Plastic pieces now permanently contaminate our soil, water and air. We eat a credit card’s worth of plastic each week and we breathe even more. Scientists have found plastic particles in the human placenta, and in our lungs, liver, digestive tract and blood. Plastic food packaging and foodwarer create additional health problems. They leak petrochemical monomers, heavy metals, and persistent organic pollutants into our food and drink. About 12% of plastic is burned in incinerators where it emits dioxins and other toxic gasses.

Cafeteria Culture is an environmental education nonprofit and the force behind the award-winning student-led film Microplastic Madness. Plastic Free Lunch Day grew out of Cafeteria Culture’s partnerships with the New York City students, DOE Office of Sustainability, and DOE Office of Food and Nutrition Services, a founding USFA member. Plastic Free Lunch day is a fun student-led action that begins a conversation about how to reduce our dependence on single-use plastics. The first step is easy, whether students choose to eliminate one plastic item during a lunch period, design a creative messaging campaign about plastics, or organize a switch from disposable to reusable cafeteria dishware.

Click here to participate and share your plastic free lunch action idea!

USFA is committed to creating a culture within our organization that ensures an

Cafeteria Culture works creatively with youth to achieve equitable zero waste, climate-smart school

equitable experience for all stakeholders and equitable access to healthy school meals for all students. In pursuit of this, we are committed to fostering a diverse workforce, board of directors and membership base and being intentional about including a diversity of voices in school food conversations.

communities and a plastic free biosphere. Our programs foster youth-led solutions by merging citizen science, civic action, media, storytelling and the arts.

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