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Middle School Activists Get Styrofoam Food Trays Banned in LAUSD Schools

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Styrofoam tray by design56 via Shutterstock
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In April of 2011, students at Thomas Starr King Middle School in Los Feliz put together an "art" project that they hoped would get some attention and some action on the issue of the health hazards of the Styrofoam food trays their lunches come on. Today, the Los Angeles Unified School District is expected to announce they will no longer use Styrofoam food trays district-wide because of their negative impact on the environment.

As chronicled by GOOD last year, the King students were taking a look at how what they threw away was impacting the environment, like finding bottle caps inside the bodies of birds. The kids took on a project: They gathered up the used Styrofoam trays from their cafeteria and strung them up as "30-foot art installation in the center of campus."

In a press release issued about the pending announcement, the LAUSD says that their choice to eliminate the polystyrene trays "is that students and parents associated with King Middle School vigorously organized and called for changes to the old policies and practices."

The King students are definitely in touch with the earth and the environment; the campus is home to Farm King, a school garden and program sustained by volunteers, teachers, and that has the students growing, cooking, and learning.

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Of the LAUSD's decision to get rid of the Styrofoam trays, L.A. City Councilmember Paul Koretz says:

“With 65 municipalities throughout California banning Styrofoam, it’s time for a sensible statewide solution to the environmental harm caused by polystyrene products. I urge California legislators to vote for SB-568, and in favor of ending use of polystyrene food containers. 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 leader among educational institutions.”

Koretz will be on hand at King Middle School midday today for the press conference, and will be joined by LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy, School board member Bennett Kayser, Marcus Eriksen of 5 Gyres institute, Tomas O’Grady, President of Friends of King Middle School, School Principal Mark Naulls and Brian Miller, Farm King Manager.