A greater selection of recyclable materials is to be introduced across East Lothian’s school catering services.

By removing plastics in our canteens we can change the world, not just East Lothian

S1 pupil Ben Kean had contacted the council to ask for more recyclable and ‘green’ materials to be used in the school’s cafeteria and food service. Cabinet member for Education Councillor Shamin Akhtar met with Ben along with Pamela Fraser from the council’s facilities management and Ross High Kitchen Supervisor Tracey Frame to discuss the options.

Councillor Shamin Akhtar said: “I was so impressed with Ben’s passion for introducing more green options within the school. It’s something that he has given a great deal of thought to and it was great to sit down with him to go through different ideas and materials. We’re going to be working with Ben and other pupils in the coming months to improve the green options available to them.

“Our facilities and catering teams are proud of the wide range of tasty, healthy and good value meals that we offer in our schools. This is another way that we can improve the service that we provide while making a positive contribution to the environment. We’re grateful to Ben for his interest and ideas.”

Ross High School pupil Ben Kean said: “I think that by going eco-friendly in our canteens, our schools and East Lothian as a whole can make a great impact on our environment. Only 9% of plastic is recycled and there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish by 2050. I love looking after the environment and I think that by removing plastics in our canteens we can change the world, not just East Lothian.”

Environmental awareness and recycling levels are high in primary schools with all food waste and packaging separated and correctly disposed of in dining halls and kitchens. While this is also true of secondary school kitchens, much of the packaging and food waste is not recycled by pupils. It is hoped that introducing more ‘green’ packaging options, alongside an awareness-raising campaign, will lead to an increase in recycling at secondary school level. 

Published: Thursday, 7th February 2019