Let’s Make Every Friday a Plastic-Free Lunch Day at MCS!

MCS Sustainability Committee
In line with MCS’ core mission and as part of their school curriculum, 5th graders have been studying sustainability matters in recent weeks.

Early in the study, they estimated their individual carbon footprint (try with your kid also, using this tool for example) in comparison to the Earth’s annual biological capacity to regenerate, which put to light our unsustainable lifestyles.

Then, they went to Governors Island on an Earth Matter field trip, where they learned about the importance and the process of composting organic waste. They further visited the Hudson River Park to explore water pollution, including plastic pollution. 

As a culmination of their study, 5th graders have been taking their caregivers on a journey to celebrate Plastic-Free Lunch Day this past Friday, November 17th, taking every opportunity such as the recent Upper School Assembly, to raise awareness of grownups about the wide range of environment and health costs of plastics - a petroleum byproduct.

Now, considering MCS’ commitment to sustainability and equity, what would it take for the school community at large to celebrate Plastic-Free Lunch Day EVERY FRIDAY?

Let’s see:
  • Get a reusable water bottle if you don’t already have one (and make sure your child takes it to school!).
  • Get your child a reusable utensil kit (or make one with previously used plastic cutlery that you saved from the landfill: they can actually last nearly forever…).
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  • Stay away from plastic straws, which are used only for a few minutes or seconds, and can last more than 200 years in the environment. Go straw-free, or get a metal or bamboo straw if needed.
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  • Avoid potato chips and other snacks in plastic wrappers, which cannot be recycled at all.
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  • Bring food from home, stored in a reusable metal or bamboo container (or a reusable plastic container, so long as it’s not single use). Think about these containers to store veggie sticks such as cucumbers, radishes, carrots, or even to carry sandwiches. This will also save you money!
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  • Beeswax wraps, which are easy and fun to make, can be a suitable replacement for Ziplocks. You only need a piece of pre-washed fabric, some bee wax, a few drops of jojoba oil (optional), scissors and an iron. Here is a tutorial.
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  • Bear in mind that many foods come with natural casing, and don’t need any wrappers: that is the case of boiled eggs, for instance, or bananas, tangerines, oranges, pomegranates, etc. Other fruits may be easily stored in glass containers: grapes, fruit salad, etc.
  • Another great option for a plastic-free lunch is candied or dried fruits such as prunes, dates, cranberries, raisins, or candied ginger, candied pineapple, etc.   A Nut Factory is near MCS with plenty of bulk options. 
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  1. Educate yourself about plastic pollution:
Did you know the UN anticipates that, by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish?

Plastic does not naturally degrade in the environment; instead, it breaks down into microplastics.

Plastic cannot be recycled in an eternal closed loop: at best, it can be recycled 2 or 3 times, after which it eventually becomes trash.

79% of plastic that has ever been made still sits in landfills or the natural environment (with the exception of the small amount that has been incinerated or recycled)

Plastic pollution already impacts the entire food chain at the top of which we, humans, stand. It is estimated our bodies assimilate a credit card’s worth of plastic every week.

The books below are all accessible free of charge with your New York Public Library (note: if you don’t have yet an NYPL card, your MCS student is eligible). You may also request a hard copy to be shipped to your nearest NYPL branch.

Books for adults:
  • Plastic, a Toxic Love Story (eBook)
  • How to give up plastic : a guide to changing the world, one plastic bottle at a time (eBook)
Book for kids:
  • The Plastic Problem: 60 Small Ways to Reduce Waste and Help Save the Earth (eBook)
  • Plastic Ahoy! Investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (eBook)
  1. Take action:
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