I shared this at the New Rochelle Board of Education Meeting on February 4th, 2014
I wanted to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to Dr Korostoff.
Ever since he took the helm of this school district, he has been incredibly supportive of recycling. He, as an educator, immediately understood that for children to learn to respect Earth and its resources is as important as reading and writing. As a matter of fact, it is actually called “Environmental Literacy”. That is what I want New Rochelle students to become: environmentally literate. And with that knowledge change will come to our communities. But it has to start in the schools and schools have to be the good example.
For a school to be a good example means to eliminate disposables that are used in the school, which brings me back to these dreaded Styrofoam trays, these awful plastic spork packages and other single serve packaging currently used in the schools.
You have heard from me plenty of times why Styrofoam trays are bad for the children, bad for the environment and bad for the bottom line. You have mostly gravely nodded your head in approval or maybe just out of good manners. However, the banning of Styrofoam from New Rochelle’s lunchrooms is in your hands and your hands alone.
Here is some support that you are by far not the only district that would be changing away from Styrofoam to compostable trays and ultimately to washers,
You will be in good company.
New York City banned Styrofoam in Aug 2013 (largest school district in the country)
Los Angeles in August of 2012 (second largest in the country)
65 more Californian District also in 2012
Chicago January 2013 (third largest in the country)
Miami, Dallas, and Orlando January 2013
Ann Arbor MI June 2013
Portland Maine June 2012
And many more including immediate neighbors such as Larchmont, Tuckahoe, Ossining.
Here are the reasons that the LA Superintendent cited:
Superintendent John Deasy cited two powerful reasons for the ban on polystyrene food trays:
(1) the environmental impact of the non-biodegradable polystyrene on neighborhoods, rivers and beaches; and
(2) the health and safety of the children. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services categorized Styrene as a “reasonably anticipated human carcinogen” in 2011. The 2011 USDHHS document cites several studies showing that Americans are dosed with styrene literally from our first taste of mother’s milk. Mothers release styrene and other chemicals stored in their bodies through their breast milk. Primary exposure to styrene comes from food and drink contaminated with styrene that has leached from polystyrene containers. Humans store styrene in our adipose tissue (fat).
I am asking you, as a mother and a tax payer, please make the recommendation to ban PolyStyrene trays from New Rochelle’s lunchrooms immediately. Replace them with compostable ones and bring ultimately washable trays back into the schools.
This will teach our children, that life around them is not disposable. Make New Rochelle students and staff environmentally literate by eliminating disposables and educate through example.