Plastic Free Lunch Day expands, honors Cafeteria Culture founder Debby Lee Cohen

Debby Lee Cohen and P.S. 20 second graders construct a giant polar bear puppet using pieces of Styrofoam lunch trays.

Debby Lee Cohen and P.S. 20 second graders construct a giant polar bear data puppet as part of CafCu’s MAKE CHANGE MESSAGING curriculum. Photo credit: Cafeteria Culture.

In their continuing effort to free school cafeterias from single-use plastics, Cafeteria Culture and the Urban School Food Alliance (USFA) host the fourth biannual Plastic Free Lunch Day (PFLD) for a full week of Planet vs. Plastics Earth Day action, April 17 – 24, 2024, part of the growing movement to ditch single-use plastics.

The Plastic Free Lunch concept was developed by Cafeteria Culture (CafCu), a NYC-based environmental education nonprofit, and its tenacious and visionary Founder and Executive Director, Debby Lee Cohen, who died last week on April 7, 2024. Ms. Cohen also founded the wildly successful CafCu precursor, Styrofoam out of Schools, which catalyzed the elimination of styrofoam compartment trays from New York City school cafeterias, a victory that led to the city’s 2019 styrofoam ban and New York state’s 2022 styrofoam ban.

“This global movement is a testament to Debby Lee and her dedication to creating a healthier future for students and the environment,” said Dr. Katie Wilson, Executive Director of the Urban School Food Alliance. “We have seen the tremendous impact Debby Lee has made in schools and communities worldwide with this initiative and look forward to its continued success in her honor, this week and in the years to come.”

Learn more about Plastic Free Lunch Day, Cafeteria Culture, and Ms. Cohen’s lifetime work as a passionate advocate for the environment and student-driven change:

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