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Bethlehem to remove plastic straws from cafeterias beginning April 29

Filed in Archive, District, District News by on April 9, 2019

Plan would help reduce ‘single use’ waste in the environment

Did you know that in the United States alone we use and discard 500 million plastic straws every day? It is enough waste to fill Yankee Stadium nine times, every year.

Beginning April 29, Bethlehem Central is making a commitment to reduce the amount of waste from plastic straws by removing them from all school cafeterias.

Used once and thrown away, plastic straws do not biodegrade. The straws photodegrade into smaller pieces, and are often ingested by marine and land animals, and enter the food chain. And unlike some other consumer plastics, straws are difficult to recycle because of their small size.

According to Food Service Director Allissa Eiser, the school district wants to do its part to protect the world’s oceans and wildlife. In doing so, she said, Bethlehem schools will no longer offer students and staff plastic straws. Instead, she said, drinks will be consumed from their containers.

“On average, each straw is used for only 12 minutes but its damaging effects on the environment can last hundreds of years,” said Eiser. “A growing number of cities and businesses are doing away with straws. As a community of more than 5,000 students and staff, we can make a significant impact right here.”

Eiser said the district is aware that some students and staff need to use a straw or cup when consuming liquids and she said that a straw or cup will be readily available and easily accessible for them when they do.

“We certainly believe that reducing our bulk use of plastic is good for the environment, but we do not want anyone who needs a straw to go without,” said Eiser. “I encourage parents to contact our Food Service Department with any questions or concerns regarding straw use.”

Families can email Eiser at aeiser@bethlehemschools.org or call the Food Service Department at 518-439-8885.