Pupils dine out on sustainable packaging

Weston School pupils with their lunches from Oamaru restaurant Midori, which now arrive in...
Weston School pupils with their lunches from Oamaru restaurant Midori, which now arrive in sustainable packaging. PHOTO: DANIEL BIRCHFIELD
Plastic, plastic everywhere, whatever can we do?

That was the question pupils at Weston School, near Oamaru, asked of Oamaru restaurant Midori, which, as it turned out, was more than happy to accommodate the school's request for more sustainable packaging for its weekly lunch deliveries.

Every Thursday, pupils have the option to order food from the Japanese restaurant. While happy with the food, they were concerned about the amount of plastic it came with, which included containers, cutlery, a small fish-shaped sauce bottle and garnish.

Weston School teacher Jenny Kitchin said the 20-pupil group was determined to change that.

"The enviro group from our enviroschool decided it was something that needed to be done. Midori, who sends us sushi every Thursday, always had plastic wrappers and plastic spoons and they thought 'No, this is not good enough'. So, the enviro group have written letters to Midori asking if we could have more sustainable packaging and Midori said straight away, 'Yes, we can do something about that'.

"Now, they are sending all of their lunches in cardboard and bio-plastics."

She praised the pupils for their motivation, and Midori for taking their concerns seriously and making the change.

Mrs Kitchin said the pupil-driven initiative had also made parents think about what packaging goes into their children's lunch boxes.

"Parents are very open to this. They're being very helpful and they now send their home lunches in lunch boxes with no Glad Wrap [and] very few wrappers. They find the food is kept very fresh without the plastic and the wrapping, so we are really encouraging parents to keep on doing this."

Waitaki Enviroschools facilitator Bron Claridge said the initiative showed how schools could make positive change.

Weston School is one of 12 in the district that are part of the Enviroschools programme.

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