Milan schools say “addio” to plastic

School meals now on 100 per cent biodegradable plates, beakers, cutlery.

Milan is Italy’s first city to boast a 100 per cent environmentally responsible school meals system with the start of the school year, claims deputy mayor Anna Scavuzzo.

Milano Restorazione, the semi-privatised supplier of meals to the city’s schools and senior citizens’ care centres, has now eliminated all remaining plastic containers and cutlery, and supplies only biodegradable and compostable substitutes. To complete the cycle, up to 80 per cent of detergent used in Milan schools is now in the “Ecolabel” category.

What’s more, the meals have been transported only in steel containers since 2012, replacing the old polypropylene boxes.

Milano Restorazione again won the contract for school meals supply this year because of its close attention to environmental issues, eliminating 12.3 million beakers, 8.5 million plates and 5 million bowls – amounting together with cutlery to 200,000 kg of non-degradable plastic, said city hall.

“The quality of school meals is measured [first] by the quality of the food,” says Scavuzzo, “but also by the way it is served every day to the kids,” adding that a school with an ecologically correct attitude “can only educate youngsters to be responsible and respectful of their environment.”

The municipal supplier also provides meals to immigrant welcome centres and wheels on meals to the homebound elderly, for a total of 15.8 million hot and over 1.5 million cold meals in 2015, the vast majority of which were supplied to the city’s schools of all levels.