Students lobby for better recycling

Lansing Middle Schools's 6th Grade Green Team lobbied the Board Of Education (BOE) at its June 17th  meeting to reduce single-use plastic use in their cafeteria.  A couple of weeks ago at the July 8th meeting School Business Administrator Kate Heath reported to the board on how the Food Services department is responding to the student's ideas.  Heath said she met with Food Service Supervisor Sandra Swearingen about changes that will be implemented next school year.

"We're going to use spoodles, which are basically metal sporks with a knife on the side, K through 12, so all three buildings will have spoodles," Heath said. "We're going to move to paper straws, as opposed to plastic straws.  And we're going to move to single-serve yogurt.  Right now she gets those disposable cups that they put yogurt in in bulk.  She'll move away from that and go to single-serve yogurt, because those cups are recyclable.  We're going to look at more changes we can make moving forward.  But those are some really simple, easy things we can do that can make a huge difference."

While 'spoodles' is not the actual name of the utensil.  It is a name middle schoolers gave it.  Evidently the utensils are actually called 'Splayds', at least in Sydney, Australia, where the device was created in the 1940s.  The new 'spoodles' will be metal utensils that can be reused.  Heath said the school district is considering working with a company to increase its recycling.

In June the 6th graders presented statistics on non-recyclables used in the schools that have especially increased the amount of plastics that end up in landfills, especially since China and other countries have stopped accepting mixed recyclables, and a number of kinds of plastics.  As a result the Tompkins County Department Of Recycling And Materials Management has had to reduce the kinds of plastics they will accept for recycling, limiting them to those labeled 1,2, and 5 in the triangular symbol embossed on most disposable plastic containers.

Heath said she has asked the Green Team's advisor Francesca Crannell to let them know they made an impact.