Author: Svilena Velcheva

The School Fruit and School Milk programs generate thousands of pounds of nature’s plastic packaging. The problem was highlighted in the distribution of food to parents whose children participate in the programs. Due to the state of emergency, over 420,000 students and children from kindergartens received the products for consumption at home. 30 grams of yellow cheese or cheese are packaged and labeled in individual plastic bags, it became clear after the distribution of food. Such deliveries are received not only in schools that do not have kitchen units and conditions for cutting, but also from kindergartens, where food is prepared on site.

The individual packaging of every 30 grams not only makes the product more expensive and pollutes nature, but also harms the health of children. All types of plastics emit harmful emissions into the food they come in contact with, especially if it is greasy (as with cheese and yellow cheese) or is exposed to sunlight, heat, friction, etc.

A study by the German Robert Koch Institute three years ago showed that 97% of children had various plastic substances in their bodies. The study included 2,500 children between the ages of 3 and 17. The most popular toxins in plastics are Bisphenol A, a synthetic estrogen, and phthalates, also common carcinogens that cause asthma in children and affect brain development in babies.

The packaging of each product for a child individually is absolutely bureaucratic arbitrariness, showed a brief review of the regulatory documentation on the subject. According to the ordinance regulating the “School Fruit” and “School Milk” schemes, all products must be delivered in individual or non-individual packages with intact integrity. Non-individual packaging can be delivered and opened, cut or bottled in schools that have facilities for preparing or distributing food. Only the products listed in items 1 and 2 of Annex 3 shall be delivered in individual packages for each student. These are fresh pasteurized and yogurt.

If we assume that one package for 30 g of dairy or other product under the scheme weighs 5 g, then for only 20 school days (one month), the schemes “School fruit” and “School milk” generate 42 tons of plastic waste. Its path ends at the landfill, where the nylon breaks down into microscopic particles and enters the air, soil or water, and through them into the human body.

Although they are minimal, the amounts of harmful substances that we take from plastics accumulate in our body. The effects of this cumulative effect on our health will only become clear over time.

Translator: Valentina Vagge

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Improving public knowledge about the role of Civil Society Organizations

The project “Improving public knowledge about the role of Civil Society Organizations” shall be implemented with the financial support of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway under the EEA Financial Mechanism. The main goal of the project is to improve citizens’ awareness of the role of non-governmental organizations in society. This material is established with the financial support of the Active Citizens Fund of Bulgaria under the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area. The whole responsibility for the content of the document is held by the Public Environmental Center for Sustainable Development and under no circumstances can this material be considered to reflect the official opinion of the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area and the Active Citizens Fund of Bulgaria.