Styrofoam food trays will no longer be used at Los Angeles Unified School District campuses, the district announced on Wednesday Aug. 22, following the urging of students who pushed for a ban on the product.
The district will join other counties and municipalities across California, including the city and county of Los Angeles, that have banned the use of polystyrene food containers in government buildings.
Los Angeles banned foam food containers in city buildings in 2009. The county followed suit for its facilities in 2010.
LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy is expected to visit Thomas Starr King Middle School near Silver Lake on Thursday to announce the district’s ban.
Students and parents at the school pushed the district to phase out the use of foam containers.
Students even built a sculpture in the school’s garden made out of Styrofoam food trays.
City Councilman Paul Koretz was also scheduled to attend the event and call 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 a ban would increase costs for businesses that need to find alternative packaging, leading to higher costs for consumers.
They also contend that some alternative packaging materials are not as effective and are not easily recycled if they are contaminated with food, meaning a Styrofoam ban would have little effect on improving the environment.