Friday, May 8, 2009

Hypocrisy in public school? Say it aint' so!

Be forewarned, the following post contains a bit of a rant.

Lilly and Madeleine go to a school that promotes litterless lunches. That means that the school doesn't want parents to send things like yogurt containers, snackables or any single use container that will be thrown out at the end of lunch. This is something I support and take part in. It is a rare occasion that my kids have something that is not organic that needs to be thrown out. That means sandwich containers instead of baggies. Tupperware containers instead of yogurt containers. Reusable drink containers instead of juice boxes. It has been something I have been doing for quite a while now.

This acutally has two benefits. The first one is, of course, the environmental impact. Not just the landfill issue but the manufacturing process has less of an impact. The second benefit is that I get to control their portions. It is a rare thing that either Lilly or Madeleine would eat an entire yogurt container but Victoria would eat more than one. So, for Lilly and Madeleine I will put two spoonfuls in their container while Victoria's container is full.

Lilly and Madeleine's school has just implemented a new rule stating that any waste left at the end of lunch will be sent home with the kids. This wouldn't really phase me, except it includes organic waste. To send home a yogurt container as a reminder that it needs to thrown out and is not necessary is one thing. But, telling kids (and parents) that organic waste is avoidable is setting the bar a bit too high. I really can't think of a way to avoid sending a banana other than wrapped in a peel. Apples turn brown when sliced. And, to top it off, organic waste is actually GOOD for the environment when composted.

This is something I would let go and just live with if it weren't for one other thing. Every Friday, there is a catered lunch for the entire school from East Side Mario's. Not every other Friday. Not once a month. But EVERY FRIDAY. Let's just stop and think about the process that is involved in getting that lunch to the students.
  1. Food must be prepared in a processing plant (which would have other steps previous to this one involving getting the ingredients to the processing plant etc.)
  2. Food must then be delivered to East Side Mario's.
  3. Food must then be cooked at East Side Mario's.
  4. Food must then be put in non-reusable containers.
  5. All containers must then be placed in boxes for transportation to the school.
  6. Food must then be delivered to the school.
  7. When food is eaten, all waste, including utensils and containers, is then thrown out.
Is it me, or does that not seem a tad more wasteful than putting an orange peel in the garbage? Sure, there are steps that the orange had to take to get into my house, same with the bread for sandwiches etc. but I can't see how the school in one breath can tell us "All litter is bad" and then have weekly catered lunch. It smacks of hypocrisy and "Do as I say, not as I do" is never a good way to teach people.


  1. Just remember Sara, next year you'll be making enemies on the PTA & this is one issue you can address! lol

    You can squeeze a little lemon or lime juice onto the apples to keep them from turning. There is also some anti-browning stuff that you can buy to put on apples and bananas to keep them from turning.

    But I agree, it's bull!!!

  2. I know about the lemon thing, but Madeleine doesn't like sour apples so that's out. The kids actually get mad if I send oranges peeled already for lunch. They like peeling them.

    Sigh... I don't know about the PTA. Do I really want the headache? Do I really need to make enemies? I already have to go talk to the principal about my fence being ruined by the kids at recess so I think I'll just bring this up then.

  3. There you go, bring it up then. :) Does the school have a garden? Maybe they could start a compost heap for it. Or they could start it and, say, one day a month the community can come & buy bags of compost for a certain (low) amount as a fundraiser for the school.

  4. Sending organic waste home? That's crazy! I like the idea of them starting a compost heap. That would be a great lesson for the kids and possibly encourage them to do it at home.

  5. That is a good idea! I'll bring it up with the principal. I thought about the composting/gardening thing, but I am not willing to take on the responsibility of organizing that. Selling compost once a month, however, I could do.