Piney Branch Elementary School PTA Polystyrene-Free Pledge

WHEREAS, items of polystyrene food service ware are common environmental pollutants, yet there continues to be no meaningful recycling of these items; and

WHEREAS, polystyrene lunch trays are burned in the Montgomery County waste incinerator contributing to air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions;

WHEREAS, compostable or biodegradable food service ware is a safer, more ecologically sound alternative; and

WHEREAS, polystyrene foam is notorious as a pollutant that breaks down into smaller, non-biodegradable pieces that are ingested by marine life and other wildlife, thus harming or killing them; and

WHEREAS, polystyrene is made from the monomer styrene, which is a suspected human carcinogen and known neurotoxin which potentially threatens human health; and

WHEREAS, the general public is not typically warned of any potential hazard related to the manufacturing and use of polystyrene in food service ware, particularly in the immigrant and non-English-speaking community; and

WHEREAS, due to these concerns, a number of U.S. cities have banned polystyrene food service ware, and many local businesses and several national corporations have successfully replaced polystyrene foam and other non-biodegradable food service ware with affordable, safe and reusable or compostable products; and

WHEREAS, due to these concerns, the City of Takoma Park has passed a resolution effective September 2010 banning use of city funds to purchase polystyrene food service ware; and

WHEREAS, effective ways to reduce the negative environmental impact of throw-away food service ware include reusing food service ware or using compostable or biodegradable materials made from renewable resources such as paper, bamboo, cornstarch and sugarcane; and

WHEREAS, modeling use of alternative products to polystyrene food service ware by the PTA at its events will advance the school’s goal of being a green school, help inform the PBES community of the problems posed by polystyrene, and support the PTA’s Young Activist Club’s project to pilot a washable tray system in place of single-use disposable trays.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE PBES PTA THAT the PTA shall cease purchasing and using polystyrene (resin code #6) food service ware for its events; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the PTA will inform its PTA events coordinators of this policy; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the PTA will inform the PBES principal and administration of this policy and suggest the PBES administration adopt a similar policy for other school-sponsored events; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the PBES PTA will share this pledge with other MCPS PTAs and request that PBES’s MCCPTA representatives propose a similar MCCPTA resolution.

EXEMPTION: Reclaimed polystyrene lunch trays may be used for PTA projects or events that do not involve use of the polystyrene for food service.

This pledge was introduced by the Young Activist Club and passed by the Piney Branch Elementary School PTA at its November 4th, 2010, meeting.