Miami schools pilot disposable sugar cane lunch tray

The program is part of the Urban School Food Alliance, which includes five other large districts.

Dec. 5—Nothing seemed special about the plates from which students at a handful of Miami schools devoured their meals for a few weeks last spring — round, rigid and colorless, with four compartments for food and a fifth in the center for a carton of milk.

Looks, however, can be deceiving: They were the vanguard of what could become an environmental revolution in schools across the United States.

With any uneaten food, the plates, made from sugar cane, can be thrown away and turned into a product prized by gardeners and farmers everywhere: compost. If all goes as planned, compostable plates will replace plastic foam lunch trays by September not just for the 345,000 students in the Miami-Dade County school system, but also for more than 2.6 million others nationwide.