Leading a Change

Global Leadership class announces campaign to shift to reusable plates and silverware at lunch.



   Feet shuffle through the cafeteria line. Plastic forks and cardboard plates crash together as they make their way into the trash can. At LHS, this is a daily occurrence—and the reason why EDGE’s Global Leadership class is working on a campaign to mitigate waste. 

   “The campaign was brought to us [Global Leadership] by Nutrition Services, and it’s just a good push to be a good citizen and pick up after yourself,” junior Eric Rotert said.

   Rotert heads the Internal Logistics Committee and joined the initiative when it started in Feb. 2023. The campaign poses no cost deficit to the LPS 53 district and is projected save money in the long run. 

   “By doing this, we’re being more sustainable and reusing plastic,” Rotert said. 

  The campaign started when Nutrition Services reached out to EDGE’s Global Leadership class after seeing some of the projects they did last year on reusable kitchenware. According to senior Kennedy Dressler, cafeteria pollution has been a concern through EDGE and something they want to change. 

   “We’ve made a video, we’ve made infographics and we’ve made social media posts. They will all eventually get pushed out to the students when we start to introduce the project,” Dressler said. “We really just jumped on the opportunity when it was presented.”

The school-wide rollout date was Mon. Mar. 27, immediately following spring break. EDGE plans to have another celebration for Earth Day on Apr. 22. 

   “Liberty Public School Nutrition’s goal is to be good stewards of our environment and community resources,” Support Services Director Misty Newland said. “We’ve been slowly transitioning all LPS schools to reusable plates & utensils over the last few years.”

   District high schools, including LHS, were in the final phase of the transitoin due to the volume of meals and staffing concerns.

   “The supply chain, over the last two years, has been tenuous. Reliance on disposable plates and utensils requires weekly deliveries and a good supply chain, so [with this campaign] we’ll have plates to eat on,” Newland said.

   For both LPS 53 and EDGE, the ultimate goal for this project is to teach fiscal and environmental responsibilty. According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, “the benefits of reusables increase the longer they’re in use. Over three years, the schools could anticipate saving an estimated $23,000.”

   “I hope that we’re a district that can show this is a viable option for other districts and that we can also push to be more sustainable,” Rotert said.