I work in a small private school where all the students and staff bring their lunches. Still, the school provides plastic spoons, forks, and knives, along with paper napkins for our lunchroom. We've started collecting the plastic utensils after lunch.
We also provide a morning snack that sometimes requires spoons or forks. At the end of the snack a staff member collects the plastic utensils to take home and run through a dishwasher. A few children and a few staff members bring reusable utensils and napkins in their lunches.
Now that school districts are so pinched, more brown-baggers may learn to bring their own utensils. A teacher friend reports that the public school cafeteria manager now keeps the plastic sporks under lock and key. The manager has to account for every spork, making sure the school uses not one more spork than it serves paid meals.
Counting sporks seems really petty at first. Still, it wouldn't hurt for us to relearn that old motto, "Be prepared." If you pack a yogurt, pack a spoon. You wouldn't want to pay for a black market spork in an under-the-table economy.
© 2009 Nancy L. Ruder