It’s that time of year and kids are headed back to classrooms across the country. Big on everyone’s minds will likely be “greening” of the schools.
Many schools around the country have a “Green Team” to teach students what to recycle in the cafeteria and promote various recycling and composting initiatives. But even before they get to elementary school, toddlers are exposed to these issues through television shows that have characters like “eco rangers” to teach kids about the importance of recycling, and what and how to recycle.
By the time the kids are on to middle school they are ripe for more detailed information, which is often tackled in science classes. By the time these kids finish high school and are on to college, they are young activists, often the impetus for packaging changes in cafeterias and on campuses. Of course, then they head off to work and watch out, corporate cafeterias!
That’s why we partnered with an organization called Young Minds Inspired a few years ago. Together, we created an educational program for kids in fourth through sixth grades. The activities explore single-use foodservice packaging usage, encourage recycling/composting and teach about sustainability.
We thought this was a great opportunity for teachers to add depth to their lessons. If you can educate kids on the what, why and how on foodservice packaging, they would have a better understanding of why it’s a smart choice for sanitation, safety and environmental reasons.
The downloadable program is available for free. It includes a one-page teacher’s instruction guide along with two activities for students that promote deeper-level thinking and discussion, and enhance science, technology, engineering and mathematics and English language arts classroom education – what are known as STEM and ELA curriculums. The interactive activities include scenarios that help students understand how and why foodservice packaging was invented; how foodservice packaging compares to reusable products in different circumstances; and factors related to sanitation, safety, cost, convenience and the environment.
At FPI, and within our industry, we are committed to reducing the impact of foodservice packaging products on the environment. By creating this educational program, we hope to provide an opportunity for students to experience dynamic learning about the foodservice packaging products they use every day. The program is now live so teachers can begin downloading and using the materials.
You can check out the full educational program here. We’d love to hear what you — and your kids — think!