Portland, Ore., students urge school district to stop using disposable lunch trays

Jan. 25, 2011
District officials say not all schools have the plumbing capacity to clean reusable trays
Students in the Portland (Ore.) district say too many long-lasting disposable trays from school meals are ending up in landfills, defying the city's desire to be a green community. Among Portland's 85 schools, 28 have switched to using reusable sturdy plastic trays and real silverware and another 17 are in line to make that change soon. But, more than 20 years after Portland banned restaurants from using polystyrene containers to serve food, 40 other schools continue to serve meals on styrofoam plates and trays with disposable plastic silverware. Many schools don't have the plumbing capabilities to deliver enough water pressure and hot water to properly sanitize trays.

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