Ask Christopher Sorency’s fifth grade class at South Lakewood Elementary School about Styrofoam, and you’ll see their expertise on display. The fifth grade “Styrofoam Stoppers” class will …
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Ask Christopher Sorency’s fifth grade class at South Lakewood Elementary School about Styrofoam, and you’ll see their expertise on display. The fifth grade “Styrofoam Stoppers” class will tell you about how Styrofoam is linked to certain cancers and how 21 percent of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a trash-filled vortex in the Pacific Ocean, is comprised of Styrofoam.
The school has traditionally used Styrofoam trays when it serves lunch to students, but that is old news now, having switched to recyclable plastic trays, thanks to the Styrofoam Stoppers.
The fifth graders used a variety of projects to bring to light the damage that Styrofoam can do by creating computer and board games, presentations, plays, posters and more. The class created an online petition at change.org that calls for all Styrofoam lunch trays to be banned. As of April 25, the petition has 1,185 signatures.
“When we realized how bad (Styrofoam) is for the environment, animals and how it can be bad for humans, we decided we should make a change, because kids are eating off these (Styrofoam) trays,” said Jonathan Durso, one of the Styrofoam Stoppers.
In April, the Styrofoam Stoppers presented their research about Styrofoam to numerous community members, including Lakewood Mayor Adam Paul and the city’s sustainability manager Jonathan Wachtel.
“We were amazed when we found out our school wasn’t going to use Styrofoam trays anymore. It’s just this one class that did this all,” said Merik Vonderlage, a Styrofoam Stopper.
“We made a change here at South Lakewood Elementary School. They did all the work, I just kind of stood back, and they directed,” said Sorency.
Sorency said he has been contacted by other schools about doing work that is similar to what the Styrofoam Stoppers accomplished.
Green Mountain Elementary School also recently transitioned away from using Styrofoam trays.
“We would like to transition more of our school lunch programs to be more environmentally friendly. It just depends on the buy-in from all the schools,” said Diana Wilson, a Jeffco Schools spokeswoman. “We think it’s awesome when kids jump in to make their schools more sustainable.
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