Submitted Post: Mankato West YES! Team
The cafeteria has been using plastic utensils since late this fall. While this is not ideal, it is currently necessary to provide cutlery for the students during lunch. The school had previously been using reusable metal silverware but after a large quantity of them went missing, there no longer are enough metal forks and spoons to use for lunch. The Mankato West Youth Energy Summit (YES!) team is taking on the challenge of bringing back reusable silverware. They recently received a grant from the McKnight foundation to repurchase metal silverware; however, before they reimplement the silverware they are working to find out why it went missing in the first place to prevent it from happening again. As a team they are asking parents to check their kitchens for any school utensils that may have accidentally been brought home. While this may be part of the answer to where all the forks went it is believed that some of them have also ended up in the garbage, and ultimately the landfill. Repurchasing plasticware for daily use lacks cost efficiency and it is also harmful to the environment.
While the change back to metal silverware is in sight, we need students to be aware of where they are placing their silverware so we can keep it out of the trash and help save the environment. This change, through the help of our West community, will save the school money and make West a greener place.
The team was able to get food administration to agree to going back to the reusable option at the start of the 2018 school year. Administration also helped coordinate new methods to prevent any silverware from getting lost so that this positive change can stay. In addition to that, the team measured how much plastic was being used and calculated the savings from switching over. Mankato West has been estimated prevent using 432 pounds of plasticware over the next 36 week school year!