Philadelphia and Baltimore schools ditch polystyrene in cafeterias

The School District of Philadelphia and Baltimore City Public Schools are the latest districts in the Urban School Food Alliance to switch to compostable plates.

The move to the eco-friendlier products will save 19 million polystyrene products from landfills, according to a news release.                                                          

Schools often use polystyrene products due to their low cost. Polystyrene trays cost on average around 4 cents apiece, while compostable plates cost an average of 12 cents each. The Urban School Food Alliance’s collective buying power enabled them to create a compostable plate that costs around 5 cents.

Philadelphia schools have already implemented the new plates, while Baltimore schools will roll out the dishware in the next three months. The former district is also working with students to design a marketing campaign for the new plates and to start a pilot compostable program at its high schools.

The six founding districts of the Urban School Food Alliance implemented the compostable plates, which are made from recycled newspaper, in 2015, according to NPR.  

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