No more styrofoam

Kandetzki’s petition secures over 200 supporters


Every day, whether it’s pizza, fish filet sandwich, or vegetarian tuesday, cafeteria workers serve students their hot lunch the same way: on a styrofoam tray.

That’s around 400 trays thrown out a day, according to Director of Nutrition Allison Goodman.

For Freshman Cora Kandetzki that’s 400 too many.

The cafeteria’s use of styrofoam trays has bothered Kandetzki ever since she was a student at The 4/5 Academy at 5th Avenue.

“[Styrofoam] never goes away, it doesn’t decompose,” she said.

When Kandetzki’s mom suggested she create a petition to spark change, Kandetzki jumped on the idea.

“I thought it would be a good start to get people’s attention and raise awareness,” Kandetzki said.

She was right. The petition exceeded its goal of reaching 200 students, parents, community members, and even out of state environmentalists.

Sophomore Maya Alandete is one of those who signed the petition.

Like Kandetzki, Alandete has noticed the transition from reusable plastic trays to the styrofoam ones in use now.

Alandete has always cared about the environment, and as a member of the environmental club, as well as an avid recycler, she was excited to sign the petition when she found it on Facebook.

Alandete sees the petition as an opportunity to raise awareness about the issue.

“No one notices that styrofoam trays are a problem, and [Kandetzki] recognizing this problem will lead to other people finding solutions,” she said.

Alandete believes it’s the small things that count.

“It’s okay if you don’t do every big thing to change the environment, but the little things you can be conscious about are really important,” she said. For Alandete, this means recycling and trying to bring her lunch.

The petition may not have stopped the use styrofoam trays in the lunchrooms of Decatur yet, but for Alandete, it’s “a really big and powerful first step.”

Although the petition has gained massive support, there are some issues with reusable trays.

According to Goodman, the Director of Nutrition for City Schools of Decatur, the cafeteria started out the 14-15 school year with about 600 trays, but by winter break they had less than 100.

Students threw the trays away, and destroyed the silverware. The cost of “constant replacement” was too high, Goodman said.

For now, The Nutrition Department is considering its options for the future.

“We would love to be able to use compostable lunch trays… but have not been able to find one that is affordable,” Goodman said.