Polystyrene, another name for Styrofoam, is a petroleum-based plastic that has become an environmental concern in many cities. Learn more about the negative environmental consequences of polystyrene here. Many schools still use single-use polystyrene trays during lunchtime. If your school still uses polystyrene trays, this resource can be highly beneficial.
Check with your principal or the cafeteria staff to see if switching from polystyrene to a more environmentally friendly material, like cardboard or reusable trays, is a feasible option for your school cafeteria.
If ridding polystyrene trays is not feasible within your school’s budget, start a pilot project to switch out the trays for just one day of the week. Check out one Youth Corps Student’s Foam Free Fridays for an idea on how to transition your school away from polystyrene trays.
If you are unable to switch from polystyrene to another material at your school, don’t be discouraged! You can start a program to have your clean polystyrene trays recycled. Companies, like Dart, will accept and recycle the trays that you drop off.
Overall lunchtime waste will decrease as a result of reducing (or eliminating) your polystyrene trays.