WE are (eco)-sparta

Thursday, April 7, 2011



To whom this may concern,
We are writing on behalf of the Environmental Club at Amity High School. This winter, we conducted a campaign promoting the use of environmentally friendly materials in our school cafeteria. Our purpose was to minimize plastic waste and increase awareness about the negative effects of disposable plastics.

To make "Green Lunch Week" possible, we partnered with Principal Charles Britton and Cafeteria Head Joan Conant. With sponsorship from Amity’s administration, we were able to purchase two weeks’ worth of environmentally friendly products for our cafeteria. These products included biodegradable sporks, trays, and knives, as well as recycled napkins, compostable salad containers, and paper boats.

Following GLW we surveyed the student body to gauge support for change. Although we did not survey everyone in the school, we received 956 responses, which we believe is an accurate representation of the student body as a whole.
§ 67% of those surveyed buy lunch from the school cafeteria.
§ 69% of those who buy lunch do so on a weekly to daily basis.
§ 52% of voters responded that they had no opinion on GLW, 33% responded that GLW as satisfactory and 15% of voters responded that GLW as dissatisfactory.

Students then responded on their willingness to pay extra for the green materials. From the results we gathered, slightly more than half of all voters who buy lunch are willing to pay extra.

Within all voters who buy lunch, 52% were willing to pay at least 10 cents while 48% were against paying any extra.
§ 40% of buyers willing to pay extra buy lunch on an everyday basis
§ 26% of buyers willing to pay extra buy at least every week
§ Remaining 34% of buyers willing to pay extra buy once per month.

The willingness of students to pay extra may be disputed over different causes during GLW.

We link this to several factors, one of which was the issue of sporks. As a rail splitting idea to reduce costs and plastic, the spork incited many students to vote against any extra costs solely based on the inconvenience of the spork.

This brings us to the point that while the survey does reflect the student opinion, Project Green Lunch is still in its trial stages. If implemented, experience with the utensils can shift costs so that for example, less napkins can be bought in place of separate forks and spoons. Switching the cafeteria to the materials from GLW is subject to changes for improvement.

When a new policy is introduced to students, the student body's first reaction is to reject change. This phenomenon is reflected in last year’s 8-period schedule proposal. As our data collected immediately after the change reflects dissatisfaction among students, we expect the number of actively opposed students to decrease as time goes on.
Therefore, as Amity Environmental Club, we encourage the switch to eco-friendly materials in the cafeteria.

We believe that not only is the change a better move for the environment, but by implementing the utensils we can raise awareness in the student body of their impacts on the environment. Students may seem to have lukewarm interest in the project but if implemented the project will benefit the Amity environment.

We have attached a copy of our GLW survey.
Amity Environmental Club

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