Los Angeles Unified District Superintendent John Deasy told students at a Los Feliz middle school Friday that, thanks to their campaign, Styrofoam food trays will be banned at all LAUSD campuses.
The school district joins municipalities across California, including the city and county of Los Angeles, that have banned polystyrene food containers in government buildings. Los Angeles banned their use in city buildings in 2009, and the county followed suit in 2010.
Deasy visited Thomas Starr King Middle School on Fountain Avenue in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles to announce the ban.
“We want to be custodians of not only doing right by students but by the planet they will inherit,'' Deasy said. “We have to give students the best gifts we can—education and an environmental lead.''
Thomas Starr King students and parents pushed the school district to phase out containers made of polystyrene, which is hard to recycle and takes hundreds of years to decompose. Students even built a sculpture in the school's garden made out of Styrofoam food trays.
Los Angeles Councilmember Paul Koretz also visited the school and called for support of legislation banning polystyrene containers statewide.
“With 65 municipalities throughout California banning Styrofoam, it's time for a sensible statewide solution to the environmental harm caused by polystyrene products,'' Koretz said.
“Our legislators can take inspiration from the wonderful students and parents of Thomas Starr King Middle School, who successfully called for LAUSD to change its policies and practices regarding polystyrene food trays, making LAUSD even more of an environmental leaders among educational institutions.''
Opponents of the proposed statewide ban, including the California Restaurant Association and American Chemistry Council, argue that it would increase costs for businesses that need to find alternative packaging, leading to higher costs for consumers.
These ban opponents also contend that some alternative packaging materials are not effective and are not easily recycled when soiled by food products, meaning a Styrofoam ban would have little environmental benefit.