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Foothill Elementary Making the Switch Back to Reusable Utensils

The Goleta school will begin using metal flatware again to conserve resources

Just in time for Earth Day, Foothill Elementary School in Goleta will start using metal flatware again.

The school will launch its program on Monday, April 11, at the 11:30 a.m. lunch period.

Foothill Elementary will be the first school in the Goleta Union School District to revert back to reusable flatware from single-use plastic utensils in a schoolwide effort to conserve resources.

The genesis of the program began last year when Dr. Marcus Eriksen of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation presented a lecture to the school on plastic pollution in the ocean. He regaled the group with stories of sailing aboard the Junk Raft, a vessel made up of 15,000 plastic water bottles from Long Beach to Hawaii documenting what he saw in the North Pacific gyre.

Dr. Eriksen brought along “plastic soup” — discarded trash items that he had found on his journey — to share with the school. The students were so inspired, it motivated them to make changes in their own backyard.

“After seeing the plastic soup first hand, the students couldn’t ignore the fact that we were using plastic utensils everyday in our own cafeteria and contributing to the problem,” PTA co-chair Jessica Leidall said. “That was when the decision was made to abandon the plastics.”

“We are hoping that Foothill Elementary will set an example for the other schools, and that simple changes like this can be implemented,” Foothill Principal Craig Richter said. “It is truly an opportunity to teach the students a lesson in conservation while also making a positive difference for our environment.”

The public is invited to join the kickoff party at the school, 711 Ribera Drive in Goleta.

— Jessica Leidall is a PTA co-chair at Foothill Elementary School.

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