LB Schools Join Foam-Free Movement

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In conjunction with Earth Month, the Long Beach Public Schools switched to environmentally friendly paper-pulp lunch trays for all of April. As a result of the initiative’s success, the buildings are continuing to use these trays for the duration of the school year with the possibility of future use as well. 

Aware of Nassau County Legislator Denise Ford’s co-sponsorship of legislation to ban polystyrene use, Art teacher Laura Swan invited her to visit Long Beach Middle School on May 7 to address the seventh grade “Stewards of the Sea.” This group of students participates in various activities aimed to help preserve the planet and its resources. 

The district’s Assistant Superintendent for Finances and Operations Michael DeVito and Food Services Director Steven Kamlet attended the gathering, as they were instrumental in the rollout of cardboard trays. Middle School Principal Dr. Paul Romanelli and Vice Principals Keith Biesma and Lorie Beard joined them as well. A panel of five students shared reasons why polystyrene, which cannot be recycled, is a poor choice. 

Legislator Ford was so moved by the students’ presentation that she invited them to speak before numerous legislators at a May 20 session, “The Banning of Styrofoam Legislation,” held at the Theodore Roosevelt Executive and Legislative Building in Mineola. Mr. DeVito and Mr. Kamlet also spoke at this conference and supported the students’ testimony, sharing important details about how Long Beach is a leader in this effort to help the environment – a vital resource to the community. The bill, co-sponsored by Legislator Ford, Legislator Laura Schaefer and Legislator Debra Mule, passed unanimously. 

The paper-pulp trays are just one of the green initiatives that Long Beach schools embraced. For the past two years, the district has been using paper boxed water with plant-based caps to minimize plastic usage and exposure, as well as removing the use of plastic straws.