Improving The Planet through Eco-Friendly Substitutes for Plastic

Improving The Planet through Eco-Friendly Substitutes for Plastic

As a pediatrician and mom of 3, children’s health is at the top of my mind. So when I found out that plastic is harmful for children’s health and realized my own children, along with most others in the US, are still eating off of plastic trays or disposable plastics, I knew something had to be done. Since having the idea to bring a solution to school cafeterias, we have already made such an amazing impact on so many children, helping them to avoid the harmful effects of plastic through stainless steel trays. So, I am going to share with you how and why Ahimsa was born and a little bit about this amazing journey of revolutionizing school cafeterias. More than just an eco-friendly substitute for plastic, stainless steel is an ideal surface to eat food from, with the bonus impact of improving sustainability in schools. 

Founder of Ahimsa holding stainless steel tray in cafeteria

What Are the Harmful Effects of Plastic? 

In 2018 the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a policy statement, warning us about the harmful effects of chemicals found in plastic on a child's hormones, growth, and brain development. Shockingly, over 80% of baby and children's feeding products were identified as plastic, exposing our little ones to potential risks.

The endocrine system, responsible for hormone production, plays a critical role in the normal development of the brain and body. Unfortunately, the chemicals in plastic, known as Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs), interfere with this delicate system, causing disruptions that manifest in various aspects of children's health, from brain development to cardiovascular health.

Unfortunately, plastic has infiltrated our daily lives, and it’s not our fault- it is quite literally everywhere! It is also extremely difficult to find safe alternatives. When my friend group of pediatrician-moms and I were seeking a solution to this plastic problem, we were unsuccessful. I knew that I had the solution- stainless steel.

Why Use Stainless Steel for Cafeteria Trays?

In India, stainless steel dishes are the standard. I knew that stainless steel would be my material of choice when designing dishware because it is safe, durable, and reliable. 

Ahimsa, a Sanskrit word for avoiding harm, became the embodiment of our commitment to creating a safer and healthier future for our children without causing harm to the environment. Ahimsa stainless steel trays have emerged as a symbol of sustainable, eco-friendly, and health-conscious living. While it will take all of us to fight the effects that the chemicals in plastic have already had on children and the greater population, schools are a great place to start, helping to prevent children from being exposed to these chemicals any more than they already have. 

As you glance around your school cafeteria, you likely observe the use of stainless steel pots and pans. Why? Because stainless steel is a trusted, safe, and responsible material that has stood the test of time. In contrast to plastic, which harms our environment and never truly decomposes, stainless steel is 100% recyclable and can be reused indefinitely without any loss of quality.Sustainability in schools can start in the cafeteria, and we hope to be on the front line of this change. 

Stainless steel trays in school cafeteria

Benefits of Having Ahimsa Stainless Steel Trays in School Cafeterias

1. Safety and Well-being: 

Ahimsa's stainless steel trays are designed with the health of our children in mind. Unlike plastic, stainless steel does not leach harmful chemicals into the food, ensuring a safer eating experience for our young ones.

2. Durability and Longevity:

 Stainless steel trays are known for their durability and longevity. They withstand the rigors of daily use in school cafeterias, reducing the need for frequent replacements and contributing to cost savings over time. The sustainability factor is two-fold, saving money for the school while reducing the harmful effects of plastic that regular trays can produce. 

3. Sustainability: 

Stainless steel is 100% recyclable and can be reused indefinitely without any loss of quality, strength, or composition. By choosing stainless steel over disposable or plastic alternatives, schools contribute to a more sustainable future. Ahimsa only uses recycled steel so that we are not sourcing new materials to create our products. Sustainability, in schools and in every home that has our dishware, is a key facet of what our company hopes to accomplish. 

4. Environmental Impact of Plastic: 

Plastic pollution is a global crisis. By opting for stainless steel trays, schools take a step towards reducing their environmental footprint. Ahimsa’s recycled stainless steel has a lower carbon impact compared to plastic - which contributes to greenhouse emissions at every stage of its lifecycle, from production to disposal. For more information on why stainless steel is better than plastic, be sure to browse our frequently asked questions

5. Educational Opportunities: 

Ahimsa's stainless steel trays come with a comprehensive educational program for both schools and parents. This program not only highlights the health benefits but also educates the community about the environmental advantages of choosing stainless steel over plastic.

6. Versatility and Heat Retention: 

Stainless steel trays are versatile and excellent at retaining heat. They keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold, ensuring that students enjoy their meals at the ideal temperature. 

7. Pediatrician-Designed Nutrition Standards:

 Ahimsa's trays are designed to meet specific nutrition standards set by USDA MyPlate, the American Academy of Pediatrics Nutrition Guide, and the National School Lunch Program. The mirrored finish engages young students, making mealtime an exciting and positive experience.

8. Economic Considerations

While disposables and plastic reusables may seem cost-effective and convenient in the short term, the long-term costs to our children's health and the environment are substantial. Reusables, such as Ahimsa's stainless steel trays, not only save money over time but also contribute to a more sustainable future for our schools and communities.

Harmful Effects of Plastic

Ahimsa stainless steel goes above and beyond required regulations to ensure the safety of our products. We take pride in providing individualized lab reports for each tray order, guaranteeing that our products are free from known or potentially harmful chemicals. When you choose Ahimsa, you're choosing quality and safety above all. In fact, we are proud to be the only company in the country to have received platinum status, the highest most stringent to achieve, in the prestigious Green Screen certification for reusable foodware. This new and stringent standard encourages the design and use of safer chemicals nationally.

Our stainless steel trays are more than just a serving solution; they come with a comprehensive educational program for both schools and parents. We believe that understanding the health and environmental benefits of stainless steel is crucial for creating a sustainable future. Ahimsa aims to be a catalyst for change, sparking conversations and awareness about the choices we make and their impact on our children's health and the planet.

 But why stop there? Ahimsa is not just about trays; it's a movement towards a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle. Our trays are a symbol of the choices we make and the impact those choices have on our children's health and the environment. Remember, even small steps can have a big impact!

Let's make a lasting impact on our children's health, our environment, and the future of school cafeterias. Choose Ahimsa for a safer, healthier, and more sustainable tomorrow. To learn more or to get Ahimsa stainless steel trays in your school, check out https://ahimsaschools.com/ 

Environmental Impact of Plastic

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*This website has been developed by Ahimsa LLC. This site offers health and nutritional information and is designed for educational purposes only. While many of our experts are practicing clinicians, viewing this site, receipt of information contained on this site or the transmission of information from or to this site does not constitute a physician-patient relationship. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, and does not constitute medical or other professional advice. Any information provided is not meant to address a specific situation, person or event, even if you provide information about a specific person or situation to Ahimsa. Always seek the advice of your child’s own physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read on this site. Please click here for more information on our disclaimer. Effective Date: October 7, 2019, Updated 6/17/2021. © 2023 Ahimsa LLC, All Rights Reserved