Cafeteria Trend: Schools Outlaw Brown Paper Bags

baglunchThe brown paper bag and plastic sandwich bag are becoming endangered species in some school cafeterias.

In an effort to protect the planet and cut spending on garbage-hauling, certain schools are asking parents to send lunches that include only reusable materials, such as Tupperware, cloth lunch bags, and aluminum water bottles, The New York Times reports.

Opinions about the new rules are mixed, the story said:

The trend makes the schools happy (much less garbage). It makes the stores happy (higher back-to-school spending). It even makes the students happy (green feels good).

Who’s not happy? The parents (what to do when the Tupperware runs out?).

The story quotes Julie Corbett of Oakland, Calif., a mom whose daughters attend a school with an eco-friendly lunch policy. Faced with peer pressure to be green, her girls want to adhere to the rules. But Corbett isn’t as enthusiastic:

[She says] plasticware can be a pain to clean, and is not cheap. When she thinks it is likely that her daughters will lose the containers — if, for instance, they’re going on a field trip — she uses waxed-paper sleeves, like the kind bakeries use for cookies, to hold sandwiches instead.

“It’s still a no-no because you’re still having to throw that away, but it is biodegradable, it does compost, so you’re not as guilty,” she said.

What do you think? Is it fair for schools to ask parents to send environmentally friendly lunches?

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  1. by Michele Perez

    On August 30, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    Asking is fine but demanding isn’t. Especially when it’s a rule that’s more interested in the “letter of the law” rather than the spirit. Waxed paper is better for the environment than Tupperware. Where’s Tupperware go when it’s time to be retired? Landfill. *Sigh*

  2. by Shawn

    On December 1, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    Most school lunches are overly packed with plastic and cardboard. They have no room to complain.

  3. by HEATHER

    On December 1, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    Give me a break there are solutions to every problem. Especially a simple one such as this. There are many. Don’t like plastic use a metal lunch container with name and contact info at school. Teach responsibility to children they are able to learn even what we have not yet learned. If for some principle you insist on using non reusable items tell kids to pack their garbage back to the home. Once they are in the real world they need this skill. Be responsible . Yes this requires an effort. Most change requires action and effort.

  4. by John

    On December 2, 2011 at 7:53 am

    If schools are so concerned with trash and “going green” then why do they still give individual milk catrons instead of filling reuseable glasses from a bulk supply? What kick-backs are america’s schools getting from the plastic container companies for this push?

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