The SUP in Schools team met with representatives of several public and private school districts in the Pittsburgh area to learn about SUP packaging, trays, and utensils in school meals. We found a wide range of current practices and an overall concern about the environmental and health impacts of SUP. Many schools face barriers to reducing SUP, most notably Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS) which produces most meals on an assembly line and does not have kitchens in most of the school buildings. The team researched suppliers of non-plastic trays that might suit PPS’s needs and be compatible with the composting program they plan to launch in the future.
We realize that the emergency food program for Pittsburgh’s needy students during the school closure may have to work with whatever supplies are available. After the normal school routine resumes, we will resume helping PPS and other local schools to reduce SUP in meals and other school programs.