NYC, Miami and 27 other large School districts are ditching Styrofoam trays

I have shared with the Board the following article from The New York TimesUrban Schools Aim for Environmental Revolution, and then emailed them my comments below.

Dear Board,

I hope you all had a lovely and peaceful Thanksgiving break and I commend you for spending so much of your time on School issues.

I had planned to come tonight to present this, but don’t have a sitter to come over, so I am submitting my remarks here via email for your attention.

I am excited to be working with Dr Korostoff on teaching the children about Recycling and Source Separation through every day repetition. There are some fabulous things in the making.

I had spent a lot of time in the past years focusing on the Styrofoam issue, but I see now that the only solution to this problem is going away from the material.

Mayor Bloomberg did and now all 1,500 NYC schools have switched away from Styrofoam to compostable trays. Through combining buying powers, compostable trays are only minimally more expensive to purchase, but the result are dramatically lowered waste management cost, if combined with composting, as NYC schools are doing.

NYC uses the commercial composting plant on Riker’s Island. New Rochelle could go through Suburban Carting Compost program.

However the real change would be to go back to washable trays. Commercial washers have come a LONG way from where we were in the 80s. Nowadays a commercial washer, the size of a large fridge costs between $4,000- $6,000, a wash cycle is only 60 seconds and uses less then 1 gallon per wash cycle. If the kids source separate their lunchroom waste, we have washable trays, feed our food left over into commercial composting or bio plant, we would be practically waste free. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? I see most of our kitchens easily upgraded to washers and washable trays for elementary schools and washable plates for middle and high schools, Ward and Barnard being the exceptions because of the size of their kitchens. I can see hiring one additional hourly worker whose job would be to oversee the recycling in the lunchroom as well as running the washers, New Rochelle’s schools could cut their waste management cost in half or even more. All it takes is thinking outside the box and away from disposable.

You have been able to secure a $1 mil grant for Healthy Eating. Please make it a goal that this healthy food is served on washable trays and not on the worst environmental offender Styrofoam that has been linked to health problems through leaching Styrene and Benzene into hot and acidic foods.

As I won’t be able to come anymore until the next year, I want to take this moment already to wish you happy Holidays.



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