Redhawks Go Green: School project inspires eco-friendly changes in Oswego Co. cafeterias

Local News

CENTRAL SQUARE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Hannah Mantor and Angie Gugino argue that their strawberry and chocolate milk doesn’t taste as good through a plastic straw.

That claim is up for debate, but plastic’s effect on the Earth is not.

Now juniors at Paul V. Moore High School, Mantor and Gugino made plastic’s sustainability the focus of a science project last year.

They started researching new ways to destroy already used plastic, like pricing bacteria known to dissolve plastic, melting it, shredding it and grinding it up themselves.

All of those attempts failed, so if Mantor and Gugino wanted a passing grade, they had to switch gears.

The two realized the best approach is to reduce the amount of plastic used to begin with, before it even hits the trash.

That’s when they met with David Bartholomew, the man in charge of food services for their district, Central Square, along with Pulaski and Altmar-Parish-Williamstown.

David Bartholomew, who credits his vegan mother for his eye for the environment, already instituted compostable lunch trays, made from sugar cane leaves, across his cafeterias.

But that meeting with Mantor and Gugino was the “straw” that broke the camel’s back.

In two weeks, plastic straws in Central Square, Pulaski an Altmar-Parish-Williamstown will no longer be used. They’ll be replaced by compostable straws that biodegrade in 120 days.

Angie Gugino tells NewsChannel 9, “We want people to realize that they can make the change happen.”

Next, the district is in negotiations with a producer of biodegradable utensils.

Change that started with a school project, assigned by a teacher who couldn’t be more proud of his students.

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