lunch

FLIP TAP STACK

By: Wendy

Do you want to know how it feels to be part of the Green Team? Well in January, at Wagner Middle School, the Green Team and I helped the school to go greener.  We noticed that when we finish eating lunch, we simply dump our food, trays, and milk cartons right in the trash bin. Most people ignored the recycling bin and the liquid bucket where you pour the leftover milk. This has to stop and that was why we started to “Flip, Tap, Stack.”

The Flip Tap Stack helped in a major way even though there are still people who are not throwing their things in the right bins, but it did help make the school greener.  “Flip, Tap, Stack” is basically something that the Green Team has settled on for the lunch routine. What we do in lunch is that once we finish eating, we pour the liquids out of our milk cartons in the liquid bucket, and then recycle the milk carton. After that, we flip our trays in the trash bin, tap the leftover foods in the tray, and then stack the trays. Obviously people didn’t know how to do this process properly at the start, so we guided them.

For one week, the Green Team and some student volunteers help guide where to throw food. At first, it was pretty confusing for them, but as they did it day by day, they seemed to get a good sense of where and what to do with their food. They didn’t know if plastic cups were to go into the trash or the recycling bin and if aluminum foil was to go to recycling bin or trash too. Therefore, we told them that aluminum foil was to be recycled and plastic cups were to be thrown in the trash. When they were no longer guided, very few threw their things in the wrong bin.

Doing this process was just a little more work, but it’s worth it if it can make the world a little bit greener! That’s how our school worked with recycling and throwing out trash. How do you make this world a little bit greener?

Bio: Wendy is a student at Wagner Middle School in NY, NY. She enjoys being part of the Green Team.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Make School Lunches Healthy and Green

By Lina Younes

Like many parents, I’ve been looking for bargains in school supplies to get my youngest ready for the new school year.  As we do our shopping, I’m especially interested in looking at lunch boxes and the like. This year, I want to make sure that I make healthier food selections for my child and reduce the amount of waste in the process.

When you come to think of it, disposable items might seem “practical,” but they just generate waste in the long run.  Picture an average school lunch:  a drink, a sandwich, some chips, something for desert all packaged in a brown bag. If your child takes this food to school in disposable containers and wrappings every day, how many pounds of garbage will be generated per month? Per year? Not a pretty picture at all.

Here are some Waste-Free Lunch tips for the new school year:

  • Use a reusable lunch box instead of a brown bag.
  • Package sandwiches and food in reusable containers.
  • Give your child whole fruits without packaging in their lunch box. Not only is it greener, but it is healthier too!
  • Purchase snacks in bulk and package them in reusable containers.
  • Include reusable forks and spoons in your child’s lunch box.
  • Don’t use disposable water bottles. Use a reusable bottle instead.
  • Use reusable napkins, not paper ones.

In fact, I found some napkins made of recycled water bottles! When I bought them I felt that they were truly green! Increasingly, you can find numerous school supplies and consumer items made from recycled materials. So, with planning you can make sure your child’s school year gets off to a good start. You can work together with your school and community to make waste reduction a part of their daily lives. Remember, environmental protection is everyone’s responsibility.

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and currently serves the Multilingual Outreach and Communications Liaison for EPA. She manages EPA’s social media efforts in Spanish. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.