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2YH: ASD serves up lunches at some schools more eco-friendly

 Students use reusable lunch trays at Service High School.
Students use reusable lunch trays at Service High School. (KTUU)
Published: Sep. 30, 2019 at 10:32 AM AKDT
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Whether you're a parent or student in the Anchorage School District, has it ever crossed your mind of where your kid's school lunches come from?

From the moment you walk in the student nutrition building, you can hear the mass production of meals before you actually see them. One by one, an assembly line of ladies dish out a scoop of pears and broccoli. It's the cold component of all of the district's elementary school lunches being prepped, packaged and then shipped off.

Senior Director of Student Nutrition for the Anchorage School District, Andrew Mergens said on a daily basis, they produce between 25,000 and 27,000 meals every day.

"The perception is that some of the stuff that's made on the line is made somewhere else. Some of the components that go into it are, but they're making somewhere between 12 and 15,000 elementary school meals every day," said Mergens.

But it doesn't stop there. The district's also implementing a more eco-friendly way to serve up lunch. What used to be served on paper plates or preheated meals are now being replaced with reusable plastic trays.

"We started a pilot program at Service High School last year and found out that it worked really, really well. The kids liked it, the meals were fresher, they were more appealing," said Mergens.

He also added, by switching to this service style, they've been able to keep 18 tons of waste from going into the landfill.

In addition to Service High School, the following schools also transitioned this year: Begich Middle School, Clark Middle School, Mears Middle School, Wendler Middle School, Dimond High School, and Eagle River High School.

The plan is to convert Romig Middle School later this year after purchasing some additional equipment using a grant from the company that provides the District’s health benefits.

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