Plastic straws removed to promote sustainability

Amelia Feiner, Staff Writer

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After weeks of correspondence with FLIK, the school has officially removed all plastic straws from the cafeteria, Senior Director of Dining Services Brenda Cohn said. This change was spearheaded by Cohn along with Mayanka Dhingra (11) and the rest of the FLIK Staff.

Dhingra first became involved in the fight against plastic straws through a group outside of school called Sustainability through Student Voices, she said.

“We try to organize events in different forms to create awareness and get people talking about issues of sustainability,” she said.

Dhingra is not the only student trying to improve the school’s sustainability efforts. Student Body Presidents Janvi Kukreja (12) and Nader Granmayeh (12) have been working hard to promote various sustainability initiatives throughout the year, Granmayeh said.

“We’ve talked about more ways that we can be sustainable in the cafeteria,” Kukreja said. “We are trying to find a way to encourage students to use reusable plates and forks and knives instead of using to-go plates even though they’re staying in the cafeteria.”

Although many students believe that the reusable utensils in the cafeteria are not clean, the sanitation is held to an even higher standard than in most restaurants, Granmayeh said.

“It’s disheartening that students would defer to not using reusable utensils,” he said.

As well as promoting sustainability in the cafeteria, Kukreja and Granmayeh also seek to create visual guides for recycling to place near bins, Granmayeh said.

“One of the big problems is that people don’t know what can and can’t be recycled. We want to make it clear,” he said.

Right now, the maintenance staff goes through the trash looking for recyclables every day and Bartels does the same in the library, Kukreja said.

“We want to actually show that there are so many people around school who have put in more effort to deal with [students’] actions,” she said. “A lot of people don’t know that that happens.”

The SBPs are also continuing the Day without Lights initiative, Granmayeh said. A Day without Lights is a school-wide effort to save energy and encourage awareness about energy consumption. The large amount of natural light in the new building could make this initiative very successful, he said.

In addition, the Community Council (CC) is trying to add composting to the school’s campus, Granmayeh said.

“So we’ve been trying to focus a lot more on sustainability this year on the CC, and one of the major problems we face is the amount of food waste. Many other city schools like Trinity and Fieldston have a composting program, and we thought that we could work alongside FLIK to compost natural foods to reduce the HM community’s environmental footprint,” CC representative Isha Agarwal (11) said.