Third Graders Lobby FreshPicks Cafe To Eliminate Plastic Utensils From School Cafeteria

FreshPicks Café is committed to doing its part for the environment and works hard to set a positive example for kids. So when a class of third graders at Garrison Elementary School in Dover, New Hampshire wrote letters asking to eliminate plastic utensils from the cafeteria, FreshPicks Café took action. As of this month, the kids at the k-4 school are using only metal utensils at school.

“The kids were very concerned about the waste schools make in the environment, particularly from plastic.” says Frank Gillespie, food service director for the Dover school district. “They wanted to make a impact and felt that the best way would be to target something like silverware, because they use it every day.”

Transitioning to a new routine

The transition from plastic forks, knives and spoons to metal utensils took about four weeks. Getting a budget to purchase the new silverware was a first step. With so little time between lunch periods, Frank needed enough to save the washing until after lunch.

Next, there was staff and volunteers to train; plus, a new lunch line routine for students and supervisors to learn. FreshPicks Café created signage to remind kids of important steps, like choosing only the utensils they need and remembering to put it in the wash bucket when done.

How is the new routine going? “So far, so good,” says Frank. “We’ve been refining steps as we go, like lowering the wash buckets so younger students can reach them. But the kids are proud of their efforts and vested in seeing this work. My hope is to transition all schools in the district to metal next school year.”