Elementary Student Encourages HISD To Make Lunch Trays Environmentally Friendly

June 24, 2008

The Houston Independent School District board will consider Thursday switching to biodegradable lunch trays. The trays could replace the current Styrofoam trays used in school cafeterias. The issue was researched after a Lovett Elementary student spoke to the board about the problems with thousands of trays being thrown away each year.

After 10-year-old Lovett Elementary student Austin Fendley did a science project on the trays, he decided to take his case to the school board. HISD also worked with other students on the ideas.

According to HISD officials, the new trays biodegrade in a few months, compared to the few hundred years for the current trays. If approved in Thursday, the district will begin phasing in the new trays in more than 190 elementary schools in August.

Superintendent Abelardo Saavedra had samples of the new trays passed around the conference table for board members to see at their agenda review meeting.

“We’re so excited. I’m sure the kids will be quite pleased,” Board Member Carol Galloway said. Board President Harvin Moore had pushed for consideration of switching away from the old style Styrofoam trays for some time.

It will cost the district’s food service budget $160,000 or so for the switch in elementary schools, and about $300,000 when the switch is made at all schools.

“We are Houston’s largest employer, we’re the seventh largest school district in America and we serve more than 200,000 meals every school day,” Saavedra said. “We have an obligation to our community to do what we can to help protect the environment and this is an important step in that direction.”

InstantNewsWestu Staff

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