Should schools require kids to bring eco-friendly lunches?

Sep 23, 2011 | By TFK Staff

Schools across the country are aiming for a waste-free lunch period. Still using brown paper lunch sacks? Bag them, they say. Schools are asking parents and students to choose reusable cloth sacks instead of bags that get thrown in the trash. You won’t find plastic baggies or bottles on many school lists either. To meet eco-friendly lunch requirements, sandwiches and snacks need to be packed in plastic containers and water must be in a reusable aluminum bottle.

The schools’ view: more students packing eco-friendly lunch containers means less waste created at lunchtime. That’s good for the planet. A green lunch policy also benefits schools since cafeterias will require less clean up and there will be less cost for hauling garbage away.

But there are more issues to consider say some parents. They say that reusable containers are expensive and washing the containers also uses precious resources such as water and fuel. School officials argue that the containers don’t need to be replaced, so in the long run, the cost should be less than buying boxes of baggies and paper lunch bags. That is, if students don’t lose or misplace their containers. Parents claim kids are bound to lose the containers.

Despite the inconveniences, it seems many families are trying to go green. Sales of eco-friendly lunch products are on the rise. Sales of plastic and paper bags, once school lunch must-haves, are dropping.

What do you think? Is the added time and money involved in going green at lunchtime worth it? Should schools require kids to bring eco-friendly lunches? Write a 200-word response. Send it to Your response may be published in a future issue of TIME For Kids. Please include contact information for your parent or teacher if you want your response to be published.

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