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Cafeteria Trend: Schools Outlaw Brown Paper Bags

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The 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?

(image via: http://www.atlantaintownpaper.com)

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