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Student shares photo of questionable food item served at school cafeteria: 'That's not a sandwich'

All of the costs related to these food items is a drain on resources.

All of the costs related to these food items is a drain on resources.

Photo Credit: iStock

When a company has wasteful practices that raise prices and damage the environment, shoppers can go to a competitor they prefer to support. But when an institution like a school is wasteful, many don't have the ability to just leave. One frustrated Reddit user with no other options called out their school's wasteful lunchroom practice online instead.

What happened?

A photo from the school's cafeteria appeared on r/MildlyInfuriating, with the title, "The amount of plastic my school used to wrap bread slices."

All of the costs related to these food items is a drain on resources.
Photo Credit: Reddit

In the photo, two slices of bread lie on a table. Each one is separately wrapped in multiple layers of cling film. It's not clear exactly how much plastic has been used, but it's clearly enough to cover each bread slice repeatedly.

"Individually wrapped bread slices! The insanity," said the original poster.

But this school isn't the only place wrapping individual bread slices; meal kit services and grocery stores are also doing so.

"So that's not a sandwich, it is one f****** slice of bread individually wrapped? What in the f*** is it for?" asked a commenter.

"Definitely to get it into the toaster faster, 100%," the OP joked.

Why does a little extra plastic wrap matter?

As the commenters pointed out, such a ridiculous amount of plastic wrap is inconvenient for students.

It also uses up the school's budget more quickly and fills up the trash cans much faster, so the school has to pay for more trash removal. All of that is a drain on resources.

Plus, plastic is difficult to recycle, especially flexible cling film. It's more likely the plastic wrap will either end up in a dump, taking up space for the 100 years or more that it takes plastic to break down naturally, or it will become litter, endangering animals and disintegrating into microplastics.

Why would the school wrap bread this way?

It's possible that the photo isn't quite as bad as it looks. Depending how each slice is wrapped, covering one side of the bread in a single layer can leave a wad of messy ends on the back side.

If there is more than one layer all around the bread, that could be a decision that was made after trying less plastic wrap. It's possible that a single layer didn't stand up to handling, creating sanitation issues and food waste.

What can I do to avoid plastic waste?

Bringing your own lunch in a reusable container is a big step in reducing your plastic waste — especially if you choose silicone containers instead of hard plastic. You can also replace many other products with plastic-free alternatives.

Researchers are also working on plastic-free ways to keep food fresh for longer. One day soon, you may have a way better alternative to use in the store and even at home.

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