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Sodexo ‘scores a basket’ for environment

When an international food service makes a change in its process that is “green friendly,” it can equate to saving money as well as the environment. This is of particular importance for school districts, and the Geneva School District in Illinois is about to benefit from a new policy by Sodexo, Inc., a leading provider of integrated food services and facilities management.

The district recently announced that Sodexo will begin using reusable plastic baskets instead of the disposable Styrofoam trays that were used to serve lunch in all of the district’s six elementary schools.

Sodexo estimates that it feeds more than 1,000 elementary students and goes through approximately 195,000 Styrofoam trays in a school year. In addition to keeping all of those trays from ending up in landfills, the school district stands to save about $8,000 a year in food service costs.

A press release from the school district cited the benefits from a Sodexo official at the district.

“Using the plastic basket will reduce the amount of waste we produce, reduce garbage collection, and save time in the lunch room at clean-up,” said Sodexo General Manager Becky Selcke.  “This is a positive direction for us to be moving in and a positive step for the environment.”

A plastic food basket is common at fast-food and family restaurants, or bars and pubs that offer food, and the baskets used in the elementary schools will have some of the same features.

The baskets will be lined with wax paper and will be washed and sanitized daily.  Students’ hot lunch items will be placed on the wax paper, and sides like salads can either be put in the basket or into a paper “boat,” which is poly coated to prevent food from leaking out. The school district reported that its middle schools already use plastic baskets for lunch service, and its high school has also replaced the use of Styrofoam plates with paper “boats” to serve pizza, deli sandwiches, and other meal choices.

Sodexo policies can have significant impact on environmental initiatives as it carries out green-friendly measures with many of its clients. The company employs 355,000 people worldwide and is present on 30,600 sites (private corporations, hotels, hospitals, schools, military bases, correctional facilities, etc.) in 80 countries. In North America, the company employs 120,000 people.


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