Replace Styrofoam Trays in the Lunchroom with Reusable Dishware

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                We, the undersigned, are in favor of Souhegan High School and the SAU 39 district replacing the polystyrene (Styrofoam) plates and trays with reusable dishware. Reusable dishware is the less harmful option for students and staff alike and is more environmentally friendly.  

            Currently, Souhegan High School uses polystyrene trays and plates, instead of compostable or reusable dishware.  These polystyrene trays are harmful to the environment and can pose serious health effects to both students and faculty. According to Clear Water Action, an environmental protection organization in California, polystyrene or Styrofoam contains a chemical called styrene. Styrene is a known poison that affects the nervous system and is also thought to be a possible human carcinogen. Clear Water Action also states that styrene can migrate from Styrofoam containers when heated or in contact with foods that are fatty or acidic. These trays pose a threat to the health of students and staff, as well as the environment. Polystyrene (Styrofoam) will remain in a landfill for over 500 years, and emit harmful toxins that pollute the air and water around us, as stated by Clear Water Action. Reusable dishware is not only the environmentally friendly option, but could save Souhegan money as well. A case study from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, an environmental agency partnered with the EPA states that two Minnesota middle school switched from Styrofoam trays to reusable dishes and saved roughly $23,000 over three years.

            By using reusable dishware instead of disposable polystyrene trays, Souhegan will be an eco-friendlier environment, and out of small steps, when combined with other community-minded schools, big changes will emerge.