Genera, a manufacturer of domestically sourced and produced ag-based pulp and molded fiber products, has expanded its partnership with The King's Academy, a day and boarding school in Seymour, Tennessee, to help the school meet the needs of its students and staff while championing sustainability and the local agricultural economy.

"The King's Academy recognized the value in using compostable foodservice alternatives rather than traditional single-use plastics," said Dr. Kelly Tiller, CEO of Genera. "This commitment to further reducing single-use plastics and polystyrenes demonstrates that our products can help other schools and multi-use facilities move to cost-effective sustainable foodservice options, too."

Genera and The King's Academy first began working together during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when the school needed disposable, single-use foodservice products to provide to students and faculty during the main food service periods. Michael Gunter, executive chef and director of food services at The King's Academy, oversaw the initial rollout of Genera's products in the school after reading about the solution in a regional agriculture publication.

Gunter said the school was concerned about the long-term effects of using non-biodegradable single-use products like polystyrene and other plastics but still needed to balance the long-term effects against the short-term costs.

"We're a small, private school in East Tennessee, and we struggled with the costs of these single-use products," he said. "Genera made it possible to keep things going with an eco-friendlier alternative, and we get to support local farmers in the process. When you consider the long-term damage dealt by products like Styrofoam to the planet, non-sustainable products are much more expensive in the long-run."

Genera's Earthable® line of 100% plant-based and compostable bowls, plates and packaging met the school's high standards of performance and sustainability at a reasonable price.

While the school returned to using reusable products for the main food service periods, it continues to use the compostable, single-use products from Genera for sporting events and in-dorm applications.