Monday through Friday, Feb. 7, has been designated the first Waste-Free Lunch Week at the East Hampton Middle School. Students in the school’s Surfrider chapter and student government club are encouraging their peers to trade single-use plastics and packaging for reusable versions when they take their lunches to school.
The goal, according to Charlie Soriano, the principal, is to experiment with “making small changes over the long term.” He called it “an excellent idea on their part.”
“Their program is about building awareness: Over 100 million marine animals die every year as a result of plastic waste,” Mr. Soriano said in an email to parents. “We have designated [next week] as a first-time try at limiting waste, since 50 percent of items in school garbage bins come from food and drink packaging that is brought from home.”
Students have been encouraged to use reusable lunch bags instead of single-use plastic bags, and have been asked to avoid plastic sandwich bags, foil, cling wrap, plastic or canned drinks, and plastic utensils, and instead opt for reusable versions.
Students will meet with the school’s food services company, Whitsons, to talk about other ways to reduce waste. They have also made displays with an ocean theme in the front hallway showing how students can get involved. Their efforts will be shared as part of a schoolwide celebration of World Oceans Day on June 8.