Alameda High Club Partners With Food Services Co. to Reduce Waste

AHS Amplify--Alameda High Amplify Club members Mary Thomas Powell (left) and Ava McCracken enjoy a meal at Lola’s Chicken Shack using their Dispatch Goods reusable containers.

Alameda High Club Partners With Food Services Co. to Reduce Waste

Students at Alameda High School (AHS) are in the early stages of a pilot program they hope will lower the amount of single-use plastics used by students during lunchtime.

Fed up with the amount of trash generated around campus during lunch, a group of AHS students decided to act.

“The trash bins around campus would be completely filled up and overflowing in just a single lunchtime,” wrote AHS senior Ava McCracken in an email.

McCracken is a member of the AHS Amplify Club, an environmental activism organization that creates initiatives aimed at making Alameda more sustainable. The Amplify Club figured the best way to curb lunchtime waste was to put the power into their fellow students’ hands.

Club members reached out to Dispatch Goods, a San Francisco-based environmental activism company. Dispatch Goods works with local restaurants to reduce the amount of food containers thrown in the trash by selling them specialized reusable to-go containers, collecting them from either the restaurant or from the customer's home after they have been used, washing them, and then redistributing them back to the restaurant. Last December, the company raised $3.7 million in seed money from venture funds, according to TechCrunch.

One of Dispatch Goods’ partner restaurants is Lola’s Chicken Shack, located at 1417 Park St., near AHS’ campus.

“When school started back, we decided to reach out to them to see if they would go 100% reusable for student lunches,” wrote McCracken. “The owners have been extremely responsive and very willing and excited to work on this with us.”

Mark Rodgers, the owner of Lola's, said he started working with Dispatch Goods more than a year ago after he too was fed up with the amount of disposable containers that filled his trash cans everyday. He was thrilled that AHS students wanted to get involved.

"I think it's great. It's their future," said Rodgers. "If somebody doesn't step up, who will?"

Students have the option to leave their containers at Lola's or have them picked up from their home. But, for students who want to eat at school and don't want to hold onto their container all day, Amplify members placed three pink bins around campus students can dump their reusable containers in. Dispatch Goods employees will then pick them up, wash them and redistribute them back to Lola’s.

The bins popped up on campus on April 25 and the club has already seen positive results.

“The project has been successful both to decrease waste and has encouraged students to go to Lola's and support this small business,” wrote McCracken.

McCracken said her team is trying to get other local restaurants onboard for next school year. Dispatch Goods also works with Yue Club, Koharu and Sachi Sushi restaurants; at 1707 Lincoln Ave.

To learn more about Dispatch Goods, visit To learn more about the Amplify Club, visit their Instagram page at

AHS Amplify    Three pink bins have been placed around AHS campus. Dispatch Goods collects containers from the bins, washes them and redistributes them back to Lola’s Chicken Shack.