Plastic Campaigns Group Advising

March 27 , 4:00 pm 5:00 pm EDT

Join Rachael and Savannah from Post-Landfill Action Network (PLAN) for a follow-up to the Pouring Rights training series. We will be discussing program implementation and answering any questions associated with building a campaign on your campus.

April 11 , 4:00 pm 5:00 pm EDT

Calling all School Food Directors! Nationwide, school cafeterias use billions of single-use plastics each year. School Food Directors are perfectly placed to end this expensive, wasteful practice and open major institutional pathways to healthier and more sustainable alternatives.

Please join Dr. Katie Wilson, Executive Director, Urban School Food Alliance (USFA) & Johannes van der Pool, Child Nutrition Services Director, Fremont Unified School District (California), to learn how school food directors can tackle cafeteria plastics in packaging, foodware or both. The Center for Environmental Health (CEH) and Cafeteria Culture (CafCu) are thrilled to present two leaders in the growing environmental and public health movement to reduce school cafeteria plastics.

From Our Speakers:
The Urban School Food Alliance, headed by Dr. Katie Wilson and representing 18 of the nation’s largest urban school districts, uses volume buying power to push distributors and manufacturers away from plastic packaging. Dr. Wilson will provide best plastic packaging reduction practices and show how districts of any size can tackle food packaging, such as condiment packets and pre-packaged food items like fruit cups and other grab-n-go items.

Johannes van der Pool, food director for a medium-size 3500 student district, will recount the roadblocks encountered and the steps taken to move six California schools to non-plastic reusable foodware and swap out condiment packets for dispensers.

This webinar is designed for school cafeteria stakeholders interested in less expensive, healthier and environmentally preferable cafeteria options, including school food nutrition staff, district administrators, procurement, sustainability, facilities and operations staff, teachers, school green team members, students and parents.

Dr. Katie Wilson, Executive Director, Urban School Food Alliance
Johannes van der Pool, Director of Child Nutrition Services, Fremont Unified School District

If you are a student, parent, or educator looking for resources for creating plastic-free schools, you’ve come to the right place! We know that plastics are harmful, especially to young people who are among the most vulnerable to the hormone-disrupting and toxic effects of plastic chemicals. Yet unfortunately, children, teens, and young adults are frequently exposed to plastics. This is especially true at schools, where plastic meal trays, snack and drink packaging, school supplies, and other plastic hazards can seem to be everywhere.

Thankfully, solutions exist today, and many students, educators, and administrators are now showing us it’s possible to create healthier schools without all the plastic. We have compiled a list of Plastic-Free School Resources to assist schools in their transformation. And in this blog, we’ll show you how to best use them!

Resources to Create a Plastic-Free Learning Environment

1. Plastic-Free Campus Manual, from Post-Landfill Action Network (PLAN)

Working with Plastic Pollution Coalition and Break Free From Plastic, PLAN has created its Plastic-Free Campus Manual as a resource for college and university students to take action to eliminate single-use plastic on their campuses. The manual shows students how:

  • Switching to plastic-free reusables for everyday plastic items like bottles, bags, and utensils is a great first step, as single-use plastics are among the easiest to replace.
  • Campaigning and education can be a valuable tool for raising awareness within school communities. This may involve developing events, setting up tabling sessions, and launching social media campaigns to recruit students and faculty to take part in the effort to eliminate plastic.
  • There are financial advantages for schools that adopt plastic-free policies. Investing in sustainable alternatives can result in significant savings and improve the financial stability of educational institutions by carrying out cost-benefit analyses and providing long-term funding plans.

By making a free account in PLAN’s online Community Hub, you can easily access the manual and many other resources to help campuses work toward zero-waste solutions, and connect with other communities taking action.

2. Resources for Educators, from the California Coastal Commission

The California Coastal Commission has published a guide full of environmental educational resources specifically for California educators. These resources are meant to help students understand and address key ocean issues, especially plastic pollution, and includes programs and resources, streaming videos, an interagency education network, and events calendar.

3. Trash Academy/La Academia de Basura, from 5 Gyres

Trash Academy/La Academia de Basura is a virtual educational series from 5 Gyres that combines education, advocacy, and community science with the 5 Gyres NGSS-aligned curriculum into a multi-phased educational platform that is available in English and in Spanish. The series is meant to inform and empower students, helping them to understand plastic pollution and how to take action to eliminate plastic from their homes, schools, communities, and on a global scale. Trash Academy/La Academia de Basura is free and open for anyone, anywhere to access.

4. Wayfinder Society Student & Educator Hubs, from Algalita

Algalita has created the Wayfinder Society, an engaging online platform with tools and support for students and educators who are taking action or want to take action to end plastic pollution. The Wayfinder Society provides educational guides, and step-by-step action instructions, student spotlights for inspiration, grant opportunities for projects and plastic pollution education supplies, and more! Signing up for the Wayfinder Society Hub as a student or educator gives access to a wide range of resources and the wider Wayfinder Society community.

Why Plastic-Free Schools Matter

The plastics industry has worked to normalize use of plastic across all aspects of our lives and undermine health risks. In reality, plastics cause a huge amount of harm. Plastics hurt the health of every living being—especially young people who are still growing and developing—throughout every stage of their endless toxic existence, from the extraction of plastics’ fossil fuel ingredients through plastics’ production, transportation, use, and disposal. Eliminating plastics from schools can help reduce the presence of microplastics and toxic plastic chemicals in learning environments—and from the bodies of students, educators, and staff.

Take Action

Ready to reduce and eliminate plastic at your school? The time to act is now, on individual, local, and systems levels. Through joint efforts, we will achieve a future in which plastic pollution becomes history, and people thrive in harmony with nature and each other. Together, let’s build a just, equitable world free of plastic pollution.

In addition to changing the status quo at your school, support systemic solutions to plastic pollution. Tell US representatives and world leaders to support a strong, binding UN Plastics Treaty that ends plastic pollution and injustice—and supports real solutions!


April 17 , 8:00 am April 24 , 5:00 pm EDT

Eliminate all single-use plastic all week, for one day, or start with just one plastic-free action!

School cafeterias use billions of single-use plastics each year. Together, we can reduce billions of plastic items! ONE Plastic Free Lunch Action leads to another. 

After we use plastic, it breaks down into small plastic pieces (microplastics) that stay around forever. It pollutes the Earth & hurts all beings. 

Plastic is made from fossil fuels + toxic chemicals! That means plastic worsens ​the climate crisis and biodiversity loss.  Together, we can stop plastic at its source.

March 6 , 4:00 pm 5:00 pm EST

Students: Have you noticed Coca-Cola or Pepsi products in your dining hall? The chances are high that one of these companies has a contract for exclusive rights to be served on your campus. This is known as a pouring rights contract. Post-Landfill Action Network (PLAN) has tools available to help you explore these contracts, recognize the global damages they have caused, and push for your campus to re-evaluate their relationship with Big Soda!

Take action by attending PLAN’s:  Pouring Rights Session on Wed, March 6 at 4pm EST.

November 8, 2023 , 8:00 am 5:00 pm EST

Plastic Free Lunch Day was ​started by students in Cafeteria Culture’s program at PS 15 in Brooklyn! Celebrate the national Plastic Free Lunch Day this November 8 at schools across the United States (and globally). Find the resources you need so your K-12 school can participate. There are four easy steps for plastic-free action and engagement!

  1. Learn about the plastic pollution problem
  2. Make a plan
  3. Promote Plastic Free Lunch Day or a plastic-free action
  4. Collect data and publicize your success!