Lincolnshire school needs your ideas for recycling 'leftovers'

The Laura B. Sprague School in Lincolnshire has a big problem, and it's getting bigger by the day.

Students at the school eat a well-balanced meal through their lunch program, which is free to everyone this year.

But afterward, there's an unwanted surplus of food containers and lids is left behind. Instead of throwing them in the trash and having them end up in a landfill, where they could take 450 years to decompose, teachers are working with students to find ways to recycle them and are asking for the public's help.

Sue Vani, who teaches second grade, said her school alone will produce nearly 48,000 containers with lids. It's the same situation at schools statewide.

"There is a massive overuse of single-use plastics, and certain states are starting to ban them. And I hope that Illinois will follow suit," Vani said.

Anyone with ideas for what the school can do with its 48,000 containers should email Vani at

  Vivian Bencks, 8, a second-grader at Laura B. Sprague School in Lincolnshire, reacts as the wall she and her classmates were building out of 580 plastic lunch containers is blown over by the wind Tuesday. "I think it helps to reuse things, maybe use them more than once. Hopefully we can use them for more playful things or more needful things," Vivian said. Mark Welsh/
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