Ditch Disposables in the TREC meals program.
Our goal was to raise awareness about the negative impact of single-use plastics and get students to think about reusable alternatives. Our project aimed to reduce waste in our school’s meals program by eliminating the need for disposable cups through a switch to reusable alternatives. Our school serves some of our city’s most vulnerable students and our meals program can be the only food some of our students can count on in a day. Our food program is essential, but it produced a lot of waste daily. We wanted to reduce waste but were hindered by limited space and funding. The EcoLeague funding allowed us to ditch disposable cups and water bottles by providing funding to purchase reusable beverage containers for students without the means to purchase their own.
Our project began with a student-led educational campaign. Meals program staff encouraged and reminded students to bring a reusable beverage container and all staff helped identify students that didn’t have access to reusable options at home. To encourage the use of reusable containers, we had a prize draw for students that brought reusable beverage containers. By the end of the project, we had nearly a 100% reduction in the use of disposable cups and water bottles.