Plastic Bags in the Lunchroom Promote Excessive Waste

New Plastic Bags in the Lunchroom Are Promoting Waste

Recently, the school has made a change in the underclassmen lunch room, which for now is still the auxiliary gym. Students will currently be given plastic bags to hold their lunches instead of trays. This decision is creating a surplus of plastic waste and holding up lunch lines.

As of October 1st, 2021, Philadelphia banned businesses from using single-use plastic bags. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, out of three million tons of plastic, only 8.7% gets recycled. Plastic bags were banned not only because of how many littered the streets and were not recycled, but due to plastic bags getting stuck in the machines at recycling facilities and posing a threat to the staff. 

Instead of plastic bags, many businesses have made the switch to easily recyclable paper bags. 

Hundreds of students at Perkiomen Valley High School use and dispose of plastic bags at lunchtime. Freshman Mallory Klug, who buys lunch every day, said “It is a huge waste of plastic. The bags are made from plastic and everyone who gets them uses them for five minutes then throws them away.” 

The reason for the plastic bags is to prevent stealing, yet with the bags people could still hide snacks in the middle of the bag so they won’t be seen, or just slip snacks in their pockets. A better solution would be going back to trays or cartons, allowing the lunch staff to simply glance at your tray and ring you up. The cartons were easier to put food in as well as more environmentally sound and the trays caused zero waste and made it clear there was no stealing.

Apart from the major plastic waste, these bags hold up lines and are impractical. 

“I think it’s pointless because if you want to get certain things, like pizza, it is hard to fit them in the bag and not smush the food,” freshman Cameron Paisley said.

People want to be able to just grab and go, and not have to worry about fitting their food in a bag. 

The blatant overuse of plastic needs to stop. Going back to cartons or trays in the underclassmen lunchroom would be the best choice for the school, not only helping students, but the environment as well.