Vanessa Self 0

BAYFIELD, CO Replace Foam Trays with Greener Options

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The signers of this petition wish to see a change in the use of Styrofoam lunch trays in Bayfield schools. The following letter was written by Vanessa Self - a concerned parent/community member -and speaks to this issue. "Replace Styrofoam Lunch Trays with Greener Options" To Whom It May Concern: I am writing I feel called to address an issue that has been bothering me since I first saw the use of foam trays in the Bayfield Primary School several months ago. Let me begin by saying that I take a lot of pride in Bayfield schools and am impressed by the district in many ways. Not the least of which have been the changes in the lunch menu that have made the school meals more nutritious and more palatable. However, there is a problem. At the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year, I had seen reusable trays in use and I was shocked and disgusted when I noted that foam trays had replaced them. I did not take any action at the time because I thought that it was a temporary situation, however, I now realize that the change was permanent and that the Bayfield schools have continued to use foam trays throughout the remainder of the school year. This is deeply concerning to me for several reasons. First, “extruded polystyrene foam” or “Styrofoam” as it is usually called, is associated with numerous health problems and is known to be hazardous to human health. The “Polystyrene Foam Report”, compiled by the Earth Resource Foundation, states: Acute health effects are generally irritation of the skin, eyes, and upper respiratory tract, and gastrointestinal effects. Chronic exposure affects the central nervous system showing symptoms such as depression, headache, fatigue, and weakness, and can cause minor effects on kidney function and blood. Styrene is classified as a possible human carcinogen by the EPA and by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Secondly, there are many environmental concerns and disturbing facts about both the problems caused when these products are manufactured as well as with the disposal of them. The “Polystyrene Fast Facts” report compiled by The Way To Go notes the following: • Polystyrene is non-biodegradable – polystyrene takes up more space in landfills than paper. • Polystyrene is a principle component of urban litter and marine debris. It is detrimental to land animals and marine life who ingest it- see NOAA report on “Garbage Patches” • The environmental impacts of polystyrene production in the categories of energy consumption, greenhouse gas effect, and total environmental effect ranks second highest, behind aluminum. I hope anyone who reads this letter will take it as a call to action. You can learn more by visiting the links listed below. I have known both that school district personnel and the Bayfield community at large to be full of kind, intelligent, committed, and strong people. Most of us parents, educator, and community members want to ensure the long term health and safety of our children. It may not be easy or seem financially feasible to make the switch, but with so many good heads in the game, and with the opening of a dialog, I have no doubt that we can say goodbye to foam in our schools forever!


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