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LAUSD To Ban Styrofoam Food Trays

LOS ANGELES ( — Students at a Silver Lake middle school have succeeded in convincing the Los Angeles Unified School District to ban Styrofoam food trays.

The district will join other counties and municipalities across California, including the city and county of Los Angeles, that have banned the use of polystyrene food containers in government buildings.

Los Angeles banned foam food containers in city buildings in 2009, and the county followed suit for its facilities in 2010.

Students and parents at Thomas Starr King Middle School near Silver Lake pushed the district to phase out the use of the foam containers. Students even built a sculpture in the school's garden made out of Styrofoam food trays.

"With 65 municipalities throughout California banning Styrofoam, it's time for a sensible statewide solution to the environmental harm caused by polystyrene products," City Councilman Paul Koretz said. "... Our legislators can take inspiration from the wonderful students and parents of Thomas Starr King Middle School, who successfully called for LAUSD to change its policies and practices regarding polystyrene food trays, making LAUSD even more of an environmental leader among educational institutions."

Opponents of a statewide ban on polystyrene, including the California Restaurant Association and the American Chemistry Council, argue that a ban would increase costs for businesses that need to find alternative packaging and passing on the higher costs to customers. They also contend that a Styrofoam ban would have little effect on improving the environment because some alternative packaging materials are not easily recycled if they are contaminated with food.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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