polystyrene junk1
To all the organizers of SLOHS 24 Hr. Relay

Dear Frank cc:  Jennifer Rhoads

I was able to attend the Relay on the weekend only about 20 min to see our exchange student, Ziyi perform his Michael Jackson act, Sat afternoon. It looked like everyone was having a great experience overall.  Yesterday, after my son Jeremy came home, we chatted about 24 Hr. event  He said, the major downer for him and his group of friends – the use of Polystyrene for the meals.  When Jeremy told me that your Motto and that your staff all wore T-shirts that said:  Reduce, Recycle, Reuse – that you used Polystyrene is simply unbelievable.  I was hoping that this year the 24 Hr Relay could be more conscious of going toward a goal of “zero-waste”. Who better to influence than the very students you put this event on for?

I was concerned about the potential that Foam would be used, so I phoned to your office last week, in plenty of time for you to make sure your food vendors would make changes to appropriate serving dishes. I can’t believe, since there has been multiple articles in the Tribune, New Times, and a recent article on the front page of our SLOHS Newspaper – Expressions Apr 11 – about the litter and toxicity of Polystyrene, that 24 Hour Relay is not informed?    

As the Chair of SLO FOAM FREE, I’m very very disappointed that the Relay would abuse this form of NON-RECYLABLE TRASH for the meals.  Just contemplating 650 kids, 150 parent sponsors, and another 50-100 other volunteers, would make this about 1000 pieces of landfill toxic trash x 2 = 2000 additions to San Luis Cold Canyon landfill.  It also sends a message to our entire school community that your organization doesn’t care about our environment, our health, our landfill issues, the problem of non-recyclable trash ending up in our storm drains, creeks, rivers, and the ocean.  That this trash is often mistaken as food by birds and wildlife – which causes choking and eventually death if too much is ingested.  Did you know that serving hot, fatty or acidic foods on Polystyrene releases the toxin “STYRENE” into the food, which is considered a carcinogen?  Not only poisoning our landfill, your serving food to our students adds to their poisons.  Styrene messes with our neurological system, has been documented in multiple cases of cancers and every American has Styrene in their fatty cells.  

A group of SLO citizens are heading up a group called “SLO FOAM FREE” – that all use of Polystyrene – which includes forms of #6 – in the public sector, will be banned.  The SLO City Council has been addressed and jumped on the band wagon in March (71 other CA cities have passed this ban). They’ve hired a special projects person, whose task is to do all the work necessary to get an ordinance in place.  The ordinance will include that All businesses, food vendors, restaurant, caterers will not be able to use it. This ordinance will also include that it can’t be sold by any retail.  Unfortunately, the public isn’t smart enough to comply until there is a BAN Ordinance in place. 

I can send you files of reasons why you should not use FOAM: but briefly – it is not recyclable, not compostable, breaks down easily and becomes airborne, ends up in our storm drains, then to the creeks, rivers and the ocean.  It is often mistaken for food by birds and wildlife – and because of its properties, is not digestible and ends up choking and filling the gut with undigestable trash – eventually killing the bird or fish.  And is it considered a toxic poison to humans.

Yes, you were drug and alcohol free for 24 hours, but the amount of trash accumulation you added to our community certainly diminished your positive impact. 


Janine Rands

[email protected]