Cafeteria should switch to reusable trays

Plastic trays, like the ones above, are becoming more widely used in schools all over the country.

Plastic trays, like the ones above, are becoming more widely used in schools all over the country.

Sonia Yost, Reporter

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As the state of the Earth continues to decrease, people need to begin to look at their lives and see what they can do to be more environmentally friendly. The school can do this by switching from single-use styrofoam trays to reusable plastic trays in the cafeteria. Reusable trays should be implemented into the cafeteria because they are more cost-effective and are better for the environment.

Plastic trays would greatly reduce the amount of waste produced by the school each day. Every single day, students throw away their trays after they are done eating and although they’re gone from the mind of the student, they’re not gone from the Earth. Those trays go to a landfill where they can take up to 500 years to decompose.

One issue that comes up when switching to reusable trays is the cost. It is true that reusable trays are more expensive than styrofoam ones; however, reusable trays only have to be purchased once whereas the styrofoam trays have to be purchased after every single use. Reusable trays are around $3.50 and styrofoam trays are around $0.09. If the cafeteria sells around 1,500 lunches per day, then the total cost of styrofoam trays would be $135 per day compared to the one time cost of the reusable trays at $5,250. Based on those numbers, the trays would pay for themselves in almost 40 days.

Another issue that comes up would be the issue of how to wash the trays. However, that can be easily fixed with the implementation of a dishwashing station. After eating lunch, students can take all the trash off their trays and place their trays on a cart near the trash cans. The cart will then be taken to the kitchen and the dishes will be washed.