Club Pushes for Elimination of Plastic Utensils


Gracie Woidat, Lifestyle Editor

The Zero Waste Club asked students to donate metal forks in an attempt to establish a reusable utensil program in cafeterias in the Acalanes Union High School District.  The donation drive was held from January 27 to 31.

Led by club president junior Mabel Vo, the effort is focused on eliminating plastic utensils in district cafeterias and replacing them with reusable metal and biodegradable bamboo and birch utensils. 415 forks were collected as of January 31.

According to Vo, each school sends about 18,000 plastic utensils to landfills each year, 72,000 district-wide. “As many probably know, plastic never breaks down – it just turns into microplastics and it gets into the environment and kills animals,” said Vo. “I basically think Campolindo needs to take steps towards being in a leading role for a greener future.”

“You hear these stats and you’re like, ‘Wow,’ but most students at this school don’t know about that. But by distributing the metal forks we get that awareness out there,” said club member senior Annika Johnson.

“Its good because it will reduce the amount of waste that students at this school will contribute, and it also just spreads awareness of how much trash they produce and simple ways they can change their everyday habits to help the climate crisis,” added club member senior Lexi Yokomizo.

Vo’s efforts have also included working with district employees for the past school year and spreading a petition among peers the she hopes will show the district that its students believe this to be an important issue.

Vo wants each cafeteria to make these reusable utensils available to students, whether they purchase food at school or bring their own lunches.  She envisions a drop-off bin filled with soapy water and disinfectants where student can place their used utensils.

“I think what she is doing is really cool, trying to significantly reduce the amount of waste our school is producing, and it’s a promising step forward in today’s environmental crisis,” said junior Ellie Olson, who signed Vo’s petition.

While Olson supports Vo’s idea, she also suggests encouraging other students to bring their own reusable options: “I feel like they might have a problem with people not returning the metal ones, so maybe the school could encourage people to bring forks from home. Or they could sell them, raise money for the school somehow,” said Olson.

Vo hopes to implement the program during the month of February. “We just need to work out a few more details and get things going but it’s gonna happen by the end of the year,” said Vo. “I think 2020 is going to be a really big year for the world taking on climate crisis, and I want Campolindo to be a part of that.”