To Ziploc Or Not To Ziploc, That Is The Controversy

When Isabel Théorêt of Le Blog de NotreVie was preparing a sandwich for her 6-year-old son Felix's kindergarten class, the kid was mortified because ... she was using a Ziploc bag.

“He said, ‘No mommy, you can’t do that. Not a Ziploc,’ ” Mr. Lanciault said.

Through tears, the boy told his parents that the school had held a draw to win a stuffed teddy bear and only children who didn’t have any plastic sandwich bags could enter. The family normally uses Tupperware, but it was all in the dishwasher, and so they had packed their son’s ham sandwich in a plastic bag.

When Mr. Lanciault questioned his son’s teacher, she confirmed the school had staged the draw at a lunchtime daycare and that any student with a plastic sandwich bag was excluded. “You know Mr. Lanciault, it’s not very good for the environment,” the teacher told him. “We have to take care of the our planet and the bags do not decompose well.”

So - do you think the school is well-justified in excluding planet-destroyers Ziploc or is it yet another dogmatic indoctrination of environmental activism?

More Baby & Kid-related posts over at our NeatoBambino blog.

The school's heart is in the right place, but wtf was it thinking. Mind-f*cking 6-year olds? The responsibility of making lunches doesn't rest on any elementary school age kid. The school should have told the parents directly that it was holding an elitist campaign like this.

However, it is a very good idea and would be a great way to instill a sense of eco-responsibility at a young age... as long as the parents knew it was happening.
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When I was a tiny, my school did similar things, but first it sent a letter home to the parents to explain the whats and whyfores and gave them an option to fill out a form for a free, reusable lunch-kit.

I remember winning a t-shirt with an airbrushed cougar (the school's mascot) for not using aerosols in the house.
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So if you fore go the plastic landfilling bag your kid has a chance to win some crappy toy that probably is worse for the landfill, and that they have plenty of in the first place?

Iv'e had clutter issues, and see the teddy bear as jus as worse thing as the plastic bag.
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The school administrators should be ashamed of themselves. First of all last time I looked Ziploc bags were legal to use. There are certainly better ways to teach kids to be environmentally conscious than excluding them from something fun. Besides what six year old makes the decision on how their sandwich is packaged for their lunch? Maybe Manticore was running their household at age six but most of us had parents who made decisions for us. Oh and I would have wanted that teddy bear too.
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Sounds fine to me. And it obviously got the point across. Solution: take the tupperware out of the dishwasher and actually wash it by hand if need be... ie, don't be so lazy.

At 6 I would've most likely cried in a similar manner. Six year olds cry for a lot of reasons. Guaranteed though that I would remember that plastic doesn't decompose and is bad for the environment.
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Where does me running my household at age 6 come into the picture? I'm just saying at 6 years old, I didn't care about teddy bears. I had more fun picking through the gravel drive at my elementary school looking for cool rocks/fossils.

And obviously I meant for the kid's mom to wash the tupperware. If she's the type to use them instead of ziplocs anyway, wouldn't she take a moment to wash one piece by hand? It's not hard. Shit, my family doesn't even have a dishwasher. We do ALL our dishes by hand. Le gasp!
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Soooo making a kid cry is gonna help him be more environmentally aware? This teacher needs to get a life and stop pushing politics in a way that will alienate people. Sick. Anyway, the kid didn't pack the lunch. That teacher could have thought this through a little.
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I keep wondering this with all the push towards tupperware and other plastic containers...although they are reusable...are still NON-compostable plastic and end up in the landfill too. I don't get it. I can uderstand reusable...but it's just creating a bigger plastic industry...just for plastic containers. Which are still abundant and not solving the problem.
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I agree with the heart in the right place but this is the wrong way to go about it.

There are far more effective ways to save the environment than cutting ziplock bags out of your day. Simply by riding a bike 1 day, 3 miles, to and from work you reduce your environmental impact more than a decades worth of save ziplock bags.

Cutting ziplock bags out is the equivalent of driving your Hummer H2 to buy some CFL bulbs and thinking you helped the environment.
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So....sandwich bag=nonono, but what about pudding cups? fruit roll ups? or the dozens of other over packaged snacks that may be packed in lunches. ziplocks can be reused, does teh teacher sell tupperwear? excluding a child because of something THE PARENTS DID, isn't exactly a good thing, kid's probably pissed off that his parents screwed him over for the draw
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More important than any potential environmental issues is the fact that the teacher is potentially ostracizing a child for something that is mostly out of their control. That is cruel. The teacher should be ashamed.
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Any kid that didn't bring organic groat clusters in a hemp sack should have been sent home.

Ziplocs probably harm the environment less than tupperware. I doubt you can get more than a couple dozen uses out of tupperware used by kids before it is broken or lost. Plus no wasting of water or using detergents with ziplocs. More environmental to just use the little plastic bags.
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Shameful. It's just another attempt at social engineering through children. Maybe the teachers should spend more time teaching children and less time attempting to teach their parents.
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Schools are a place of socialization, or "social engineering" as some people put it. Like it or not, it is where kids learn a lot of their social skills and values. They spend 7-9 hours per day there in heavy social contact, so it's naturally going to happen.

The only problem I have with what the teacher did is that they did not speak with the parents first. As noted, six-year-olds do not pack their own lunches, so excluding kids who had plastic in their lunches was wrong - it was not something the kids had control over. By not talking to the parents first, but making the conditions something that relied on the parents, the teacher was being very passive-aggressive,

Rather, the teacher should have talked to the parents and said that, due to environmental issues, they would appreciate if the parents did not use one-use plastic items when packing their kids' lunches.

But what if the parents refused, for whatever reason? Is it then okay to exclude the child from the drawing because of the parents' choice? Absolutely not! If that were so, it would also be fine to pick on the kid with two moms or two dads - penalizing them for a perceived deficiency in their parents.

Tl/dr - The school shouldn't have done it and, if they tried, they shouldn't have done it that way.
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Whether we agree with using plastic sandwich bags or not, I think we would all agree that the teacher should have told the students ahead of time so they could all participate if they wanted.
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Now if they had only sealed the teacher inside a gigantic, tear-proof, indestructible plastic bag for 24 hours, THAT would prove a point!

Plastic kills.

Funny. I expected a story involving political ostracism of gradeschool children to originate in the People's Republic of California.

-But it's actually in Commie Canada.

Well, not far off I guess.

At least the Mom has her head screwed on straight and called them on their crap and for using her developing children as tools.
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The purpose of a teacher is to educate not indoctrinate.

I had a few teachers like this growing up and it's amazing when you think about it: there's a contract between teachers and parents to educate in both places, but if the teachers try to overstep their bounds, there's nothing stopping the parents from doing the same.
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The teacher needs to take it to the streets, the press and the government to try to make a real difference, not bully and traumatize kids to feel less guilty about his carbon footprint.

I suppose with our business leaders acting like Mr. Burns, it was only a matter of time before teachers starting acting like characters from King of the Hill.
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Punishing a child for the parent's politics is nuts.

Also, a tupperware container is also plastic -- much more of it -- and will also ultimately end up in a landfill. So the manufacturing and disposal cost may well equal out. But more importantly, the plastic container has to be washed every day, meaning increasing water use and power consumption.

It would not surprise me one bit if the tupperware container ends up being more environmentally costly if you consider all the factors. And even if it isn't, it's certainly not OBVIOUS what the right answer is.

So yeah, it boils down to politics, and punishing a child over their parents politics that they have no control over. Pretty unpleasant.
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@matt sager

yeah, the biggest problem with the green movement is that people think that the actions of consumers is the major issue

the amount of pollution produced by individual people is so insignificant compared to the environmental nightmare placated by industry

i mean shoot use paper bags if you want but saving one baby bunny is hardly a triumph when the factory down the road kills a million a day

sonic the hedgehog

don't forget to vote
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Buy the kid a really, really nice teddy bear and send it to school with him. Keep using the Ziplocs. And explain that there are cruel people that make kids sad to try change what adults are doing through emotional blackmail.
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There's nothing wrong with sharing environmentalist ideas* with students. Giving them complexes about it? That's all kinds of wrong.

*"you can _______" instead of "you MUST _______"
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Won't someone PLEASE think of the baby seals?

Excuse me. I need to go have my bowl of yogurt-covered lilypad flakes with organic sheep milk now.


Golden Rainbow Soaring Unicorn Dove Woman
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