Congratulations Culver City on making the Earth a healthier place! Polystyrene is a plastic that blows around freely and breaks into tiny pieces easily, making it difficult to clean up. Because of this and many other reasons, Culver City is the latest city in California to have banned Polystyrene! This is an amazing step in the right direction to protect the environment and public health. Did you know that polystyrene makes up just .01% of the litter stream by weight, but 17% of the litter stream by volume? It’s no surprise that 90 cities have implemented a Polystyrene ban. This ban has been widely supported by the city as 75% of Culver City businesses already have a self-imposed Polystyrene ban and no business has ever closed due to the ban. These local ordinances are changing business practices for worldwide companies as it is forcing them to do research and invent new, sustainable alternatives to their products. Due to the problems Polystyrene causes the environment, we are essentially subsidizing restaurants who use Polystyrene because no one is accounting for the clean up costs that the materials recovery facilities are accumulating. An Ohio survey study actually concluded that people are willing to pay more to eat a restaurants that are “green,” and have banned Polystyrene. As the Executive Director of the 5 Gyres Institute Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff says, “We can’t recycle our way out of this. We must reduce” and this ban helps us do that.  Great job Culver City!

Are you interested in getting Polystyrene banned in your city? Check out Grades of Green’s Students in Action Activity to see how students can get involved in the local government and make a difference!

Grades of Green’s 2015-2016 Trash Free Lunch Challenge winning elementary school is inspiring people all across Los Angeles!  Pitzil Milagro, a 4th grade Grades of Green student leader from Collegewood Elementary in Walnut, spoke to the LA County Public Works Board of Directors at a meeting held at Los Angeles County City Hall. Pitzil Milagro spoke passionately about the accomplishments she and her fellow Collegewood Elementary Grades of Green Team members helped her school achieve while participating in the 2015-2016 Trash Free Lunch Challenge. Pitzil Milagro explained how the school is seeing a significant decrease in lunch time trash – in fact; the school used to make a whopping 20 bags of trash every day at lunch time, and has reduced that down to just 3 bags of waste each day! Pitzil Milagro shared how some of her peers wrote to their Superintendent about banning polystyrene trays at lunch which led to a meeting with the Superintendent. The conversation culminated in a district wide ban on polystyrene trays!
The LA County Public Works Board was impressed with Pitzil Milagro’s leadership and eloquence. They agreed that Collegewood’s environmental efforts should be inspirational schools everywhere. The Public Works Board plans to recognize Collegwood Elementary in Walnut and La Merced Intermediate in Montebello for their success as winners of the 2015-2016 Grades of Green Trash Free Lunch Challenge. When students speak they spark change; way to go Pitzil Milagro! Interested in registering your school to participate in this year’s Trash Free Lunch Challenge? Only a few spots are left! To learn more about the Challenge and to register your school, email us at today!

Grades of Green is happy to support Ballona Creek Renaissance in their efforts to ban polystyrene products in Culver City. As an environmental education organization, we know the importance of instilling good earth friendly habits in children from an early age and part of that is being mindful of the products and packaging we as a community choose to use.

Polystyrene products are difficult to recycle. Because of this they either make their way to our landfills where they accumulate and cannot break down or end up as litter. Especially in coastal communities, this litter eventually makes its way into the ocean where the particles are ingested by sea life and birds.

Grades of Green has been fortunate enough to work in the past with Culver City schools as part of our Trash Free Lunch Challenge where we help schools reduce waste and teach students how and why to care for the Earth. During this time, we have been so impressed with Culver City’s many environmental programs and efforts in the schools. We encourage the city to stay on the forefront of environmental leadership and continue to teach its children good environmental values by approving this polystyrene ban.