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Trayless Tuesdays reduces Styrofoam tray use by 20%

Department of Education (DoE) has replaced Styrofoam trays with paper boats in all NYC school cafeterias on all Tuesdays. The Tuesday menu has changed too. SchoolFood serves only non-saucy foods, like sandwiches on this day to help keep the paper boats clean enough to be acceptable for recycling (see below).

Trayless Tuesdays, FRIDAYS & BREAKFAST
How to EXPAND Trayless Tuesdays in YOUR SCHOOL
Many schools are now using the paper boats on Fridays (for pizza) and for all breakfast meals. These meals are also non-saucy, allowing for the recycling of the paper boats.

If your school is not using paper boats on these other days, you can arrange a meeting with your SchoolFood Cafeteria Manager (every school has one and they are in your cafeteria on a regular basis) and request for this change. Ask your principal for support. Go to a Wellness committee meeting at your school. If your school does not have a Wellness Committee, please start one! This is a great way to make positive and healthy change in your cafeteria.

Call your district's SchoolFood office for more infromation. You can find the contact information here: www.optosfns.org/osfns/Resources/SFemployment/newFieldoffices.aspx.

Recycle "clean and dry" paper boats
The paper boats are recyclable if they are "clean and dry." If the trays have a big blob of ketchup, or other food waste, they should be put into the landfill trash bin.

Recycled Paper Boats go into the bins marked "paper" or, in the "green" bin, NOT with milk cartons, which get sorted with bottles and cans in the "blue" bins.

Please FLIP_TAP_STACK all of your paper boats and Styrofoam trays too, though these are NOT recycled in NYC.

Reducing plastic bag use SAVES NYC MONEY and reduces the environmental impact of our daily cafeteria landfill bound garbage.

Flap-tap-stack reduces the number of plastic garbage bags used by more than half! Multiply this times 180 school days per year time, and times 1600 schools in NYC!

If your school throws out 8 bags of cafeteria trash per day, that adds up to 1,440 plastic bags per year. Our millions of school lunch, non-biodegradable plastic garbage, sit in landfills, taking many years to decompose. Plastic bags are made from petroleum, a nonrenewable resource, increasing our dependency on oil. Petroleum requires drilling, contributing to the destruction of fragile habitats, threatening our valuable natural resources.

Multiply 1,440 bags per year times 1200 (number of NYC DoE school cafeterias) and that adds up to 1,728,000 bags per year in NYC! Cut that in half and you get 864,000.

Recycle all your drink containers and "clean and dry" paper boats, crushing the drink containers and flip-tap-stack-ing the paper boats to further reduce plastic bag use.

Reduce green house gas emissions
Flap -tap-stack reduces the "idling" time of garbage trucks and all the other vehicles waiting behind that truck:

Large polluting garbage trucks pick up garbage at all our schools. If we cut the number of trash bags on the curbside in half, garbage trucks idle for less time while bags are loaded! Multiply this reduction of idling minutes time 1200 school buildings, and this is a significant reduction in air pollution per day.

Next, add all the cars waiting behind the garbage truck, also idling while the trash is loaded into trucks. Sometimes, as many as 10 cars are waiting behind a garbage truck. Imagine that amount of reduced, vehicle caused pollution, multiplied by 1200 stops per day.

Support Change of Habit!
Be consistent every day of the week: SOS is working with NYC Department for Education SchoolFood to find more alternative solutions to the 850,000 Styrofoam trays used per day in NYC. Trayless Tuesdays (lunch served in paper boats, recyclable if "clean and dry"), reduces Styrofoam tray use by 20% or 2.4 million trays per month! These boats can be used for Breakfast every day, pizza Fridays and, for sandwiches on other days.

Paper boats, which are" clean and dry" should be flipped-tapped- stacked. It is easier to have the same trash procedure every day.

We will continue to advocate for alternative solutions: recyclable, biodegradable, and reusable trays. It is ideal for students to get into the habit of flip-tap-stacking now, in preparation for these changes.

Remember, Styrofoam trays get put into grey, "landfill" trash cans.
Styrofoam trays are NOT recyclable in NYC!

Food Waste
Hopefully, someday very soon, more schools will be composting their food waste! Food waste accounts for much of the methane produced in landfills, contributing to climate change.

Flip-tap-stack provides an excellent opportunity to educate students on the shocking amount of food waste generated every day in the US.

It is estimated that 40% of the food produced in America is wasted; it amounts to 1400 calories per person every day. According to the EPA, 31 million tons is thrown into landfills. Much of that produces methane as it rots; the gas is 25 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. (Treehugger www.treehugger.com/files/2010/03/the-impact-of-food-waste.php)


SOS nationalCafeteria Culture Kids Demand safe trays! The Full Story

When Debby Lee Cohen was gathering trays
from school cafeterias for her Parson's project,
"No Tray Left Behind", she noticed that many
kids were carving their trays with
their forks while eating.
Children sometimes scrape their lunch trays,
either to finish their food or just for fun.
By doing this, it is possible they may ingest
some of the chemical styrene. We, as
Environmental Pediatricians, advise use of
food containers made from materials other than
styrene or choose, as some schools have, to
remove school trays from cafeterias altogether.

- Mount Sinai Pediatric
Environmental Health Specialty Unit

This is an image of a child digging into
her tray with her plastic spork while eating.
Child digging with spork
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