It may be easy to assume using reusable cutlery and plates would increase water consumption as well as costs. However, a recent case study demonstrated that a middle school discovered first hand this is not the case. With a grant from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Minnetonka Middle Schools replaced their disposable utensils and bowls with reusable alternatives. As a result of the switch to reusable items, the schools prevented 6,712 pounds of trash and expect to save $23,000 over three years. And that’s not all. The environmental footprint of manufacturing the stainless-steel reusable utensils reduced greenhouse gases by 77% and water consumption by tens of thousands of gallons. Weighing the environmental, financial and transportation benefits, Bill Jacobson, principal of Minnetonka Middle School West, said he believed the program was a success. Whether we are the consumer or the provider we are each responsible for this type of critical thinking in all our decisions.