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USFA Member Aaron Smith, School Nutrition Director in Seattle Public Schools wins K-12 segment Silver Plate Award from IFMA. Aaron also serves on the USFA Board of Directors. Congratulations Aaron!

Plastic Free Lunch Day returns with a week of action April 17 – 24

Filed Under: News, Press Releases

In 2022, the Urban School Food Alliance joined Cafeteria Culture in hosting the first ever Plastic Free Lunch Day, a nationwide initiative to reduce plastic foodware and packaging in school cafeterias across the country. Since the inaugural event, the partnership has led to two additional celebrations across the country. This year, Plastic Free Lunch Day is expanding to a week of environmental action during April 17 – 24.

“The Urban School Food Alliance is excited to see the momentum behind PFLD and build on the success of the last two years,” said Dr. Katie Wilson, Executive Director of the Urban School Food Alliance. “Our members are committed to creating a healthier future for students and the environment. The ideas and partnerships that come out of our PFLD events are making USFA districts’ procurement practices, products, and operations more sustainable.”

The Plastic Free Lunch concept was developed by Cafeteria Culture, an environmental education nonprofit, and a group of New York City fifth graders who, after studying plastic pollution for two years, discovered that their lunches contained a shocking amount of single-use plastic foodware and packaging. In response, the students designed and carried out the first PFLD that reduced total school lunch waste by 99%, an action that launched the movement and opened a major institutional pathway to a plastic-free future.

“As polluting plastics pile up across the world, they wreak havoc on our environment and health, while adding fuel to the Climate Emergency. Plastic Free Lunch Day provides an excellent opportunity for students to take action right in the school cafeteria,” said Debby Lee Cohen, Cafeteria Culture founder and Executive Director. “Students, the clients of school food, are taking real-life relevant action, resulting in game-changing institutional change that tackles the seemingly intractable issues of plastic waste and equity.”

More information and free QuickStart PFLD resources for educators, students and school food service teams are available on the Cafeteria Culture website: PlasticFreeLunch.org. Students, teachers, and schools everywhere are invited to take part in this exciting day of action.

Looking for ideas to celebrate Plastic Free Lunch Day or reduce single-use plastic in your school nutrition program year-round? We are partnering with The Center for Environmental Health and Cafeteria Culture to host a webinar on April 11 at 4pm ET and share best practices for school nutrition directors. Register now!

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