Conservative-led Wokingham Borough Council has reaffirmed its commitment to reducing the use of single use plastics across the borough after successfully overcoming an unprecedented set back due to Covid-19 restrictions.
As part of its goal to become carbon neutral by 2030, the council has been focused on ensuring that, wherever possible, single use plastics be eliminated from use within the council, and all council controlled environments, as soon as possible – including school kitchens.
Through collaboration with school catering contractor Caterlink, significant progress has been made to remove cling film, plastic cups, straws and bottles from 34 local authority schools in the borough, with reusable plastic pots, containers and fully recyclable package materials being introduced. However due to current government guidelines, children have had to remain within their bubble while at school which involves many eating their lunches within their classrooms, forcing changes to be made.
School lunches had to be repackaged to ensure food was transported safely, protecting both children and staff.
With nearly 2,000 out of our 5,000 school meals needing to be packaged up differently every day and each child now requiring at least five items of single use packaging per meal, the council committed itself to finding a more environmentally friendly alternative that fulfilled all the new requirements.
“After investigating many different packaging options I’m really pleased to be rolling out a reusable black packed lunch box this week across our schools,” said Cllr Gregor Murray, executive member for climate emergency.
“These boxes allow us to serve cold or hot lunches in them which are then returned to the school kitchen to be put through the dishwasher for a life span of approximately 100 washes. They are more environmentally friendly and cost effective, as well as being Covid safe.
“We are proactively working to eliminate the use of single-use plastics where it is not essential as we understand the devastating effects they have on our environment but we cannot do this alone. By engaging with businesses, schools, and residents, we can achieve a greater impact”