Petition Against Styrofoam In The Lunch Line

A garbage can full of styrofoam headed for the landfill.

A garbage can full of styrofoam headed for the landfill.

Faith Morrow and Rachel Lesko

   The school has been slowly implementing more styrofoam into our lunches to try and cut costs, since students have been carelessly or accidentally throwing away ceramic bowls and silverware. Many view styrofoam as a terrible alternative to reusable material because it negatively impacts the environment. It is a single use product that is often nonrecyclable because it breaks into pieces too small to gather. Thrown away styrofoam ends up sitting in a landfill or in our oceans for thousands of years.

   Derrick Kowalczuk, senior, created a petition to do away with styrofoam usage in the GMHS cafeteria. In two days alone, he gathered 491 signatures.

   “The number portrays that there are few people that do not support the removal of it,” Kowalczuk stated via text.

      Kowalczuk asked food service director Amy Skladanowski to inform him on the costs of styrofoam.

   Skladanowski notified him that 1,000 ceramic bowls would cost an estimated $2,200, far more than the $15 it costs for 1,000 styrofoam bowls. However, Kowalczuk estimates that in two years the styrofoam could cost the school nearly $2,700, and that in the long-run ceramic bowls could be more cost effective.

   The main argument and problem with buying ceramic bowls is that students have been throwing them away. Skladanowski believes in using ceramic bowls, as they are much better for the environment, but according to her, the school bought 100 new bowls for the school year and within a month, all the bowls were missing. She stated in an email, that the misuse and misplacing of the bowls is the main reason the school has chosen to use styrofoam over ceramic bowls.

   According to Kowalczuk, Mr. Mennow was supportive of the creation of his petition and even stated that the garbage cans in the cafeteria could be monitored to put an end to students discarding reusable bowls and utensils.  Kowalczuk submitted his petition to school administration and has a follow-up meeting scheduled to discuss next steps.

   In the meanwhile, Kowalczuk has requested ceramic bowls in the lunchline.  At least one time he has been declined and only offered styrofoam. Because of this, Kowalczuk has on occasion not eaten lunch to show his dedication to not contributing to waste.

   In the future, he would like the school to eliminate plastic silverware and begin recycling in the cafeteria. “I hope that styrofoam gets removed from our school entirely. It is terrible.”