FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
CONTACT: Nadine Bloch, Co-Leader, Young Activist Club, 202-412-7611 Brenda Platt, Co-Leader, Young Activist Club, 301-787-1104 Lucy Neher, City of Takoma Park, 301-891-7235 WHAT:Valentine’s Celebration: Love the Earth, Stop Trashing It Victory! Young Activist Club wins local bans on polystyrene! WHEN: 3:30 pm: Litter Clean-up / Adopt-A-Spot Sign Dedication 4:00 pm: Media press conference
WHERE: Takoma Park Community Center, 7500 Maple Ave, Takoma Park 20912
WHO: MD State Senator Jamie Raskin, County Council members Hans Riemer; Takoma Park Mayor Bruce Williams; Takoma Park Councilmember Seth Grimes; local business leaders, Board of Education member Jill Ortman-Fouse, The Young Activist Club (8-14 yr olds) and more!
WHY: VICTORY! Over the last 6 years, the Takoma Park Young Activist Club has been campaigning to get toxic styrofoam lunch trays out of Piney Branch Elementary School. While MCPS and the Board of Education rejected the proposal for their single school dishwasher project, as of September 2014 MCPS did replace all styrofoam trays systemwide with paperboard trays.
Photo/Video Opportunities: Youth Activists, 3rd - 9th grade, Elected Officials, local businesses, Action shots of Clean Up, Unveiling of Sign, and more!
This victory in the school system has been matched by municipal wins as well. Local government has been a strong ally in the students’ fight against polystyrene in support of healthy schools and reduced fossil fuel use. Polystyrene is resin code #6, which includes styrofoam but also appears in clear non-foamed products. In 2011, thanks to the club’s efforts, the Takoma Park City Council passed a resolution banning city funds for use of purchasing polystyrene foodservice products, following up with a more far-reaching law on November 10th, 2014 – The Takoma Park Young Activist Act of 2014 – to restrict most types of polystyrene at places that serve food. Two months later on January 20th, the Montgomery County Council passed a law restricting the use and sale of foamed polystyrene (styrofoam) at restaurants, supermarkets, and institutional cafeterias, including schools.
The Young Activist Club knows the work is not finished, since without composting capacity in place, school lunch trays remain destined for single use and the incinerator.
This event will announce not only victory in banning the neurotoxicant trays, but continued campaign work to create a truly sustainable solution by initiating a community compost project.
As well as the Polystyrene-Free Campaign, the Young Activist Club has been an active participant in the City’s Adopt-A-Spot program. The media and public are invited to join in the unveiling and dedication of the Young Activist Club’s Adopt-A-Spot sign and local litter cleanup.
Montgomery County Councilmember Hans Riemer:
“Social change always starts with groups getting involved, just like the Young Activist Club has done. They did a great job bringing attention to the issue of polystyrene waste, starting with the foodservice ware in their own school cafeterias. Now we have taken action at the county level to ban polystyrene and to require all food service ware to be compostable or recyclable — benefiting over one million residents today and countless more in the future.”
Montgomery County Board of Education member Jill Ortman-Fouse:
“I salute these students’ dedication to a healthier environment and better world. They are a reflection of Montgomery County’s proud tradition of good stewardship, advocacy and service.”
City of Takoma Park Mayor Bruce Williams:
“We love the Young Activists. They push us to do more, and are great ambassadors for the environment.”
City of Takoma Park Councilmember Seth Grimes:
“The Young Activist Club has shown us what leadership is all about: Identify an important issue. Educate the community. Enlist business support. Press local authorities until they do the right thing. The YAC members have won action on polystyrene food serviceware, and they’re targeting composting next. It has been — and it will be — a privilege working with them to realize these important environmental and health advances.”
Anna Grace Uehlein (4th grade Young Activist Club member):
“It is an amazing accomplishment to have banned polystyrene. We have worked so hard and are so relieved that the Young Activist Act of 2014 has been passed. We did this for our health and our future. We are Takoma Park. Polystyrene was like a monster taking us down. Now it will soon be gone due to our actions. Thank you Mayor and City Council of Takoma Park so much for helping our message be heard along the way to this victory. Thank you Montgomery County Council. You have really helped us.”
Jacob Hutter (4th grade Young Activist Club member):
“VICTORY! After six years of hard work, the Young Activist Club has finally convinced our school administrators to get rid of the styrofoam school lunch trays. Though we didn’t get to pilot our dishwasher project, we are still happy that the polystyrene trays are out and they have been replaced with more eco-friendly cardboard trays! LOVE THE EARTH, STOP TRASHING IT!!”
Lillian Becker (5th grade Young Activist Club member):
“Now that we have gotten polystyrene out of Piney Branch Elementary School, we need a new project. Our new project will be a compost pilot. We don’t know all the details yet but we do know we have the money. The money is from our dishwasher project. We have about $11,000. We would like to compost the Piney Branch ES cardboard lunch trays along with food waste.”
Isabel Corvington (5th gradeYoung Activist Club member):
“Composting is easy and great for the environment. Composting is a good way to make soil. It is a waste free alternative to throwing away food and certain materials. We are looking for partners and we need as much support as we can get. If you want to help you can contact us.”
Noam Aviv (6th gradeYoung Activist Club member):
“We have a spot adopted for litter clean-up that covers the Takoma Park community, library, and Piney Branch Elementary School. We regularly clean up litter in this spot. Thanks to all those who participated today. Guess who litters the most in this spot? Kids. That’s why it’s our job — and your job — to help our next generation to become the ones who save the environment. And lastly, please contact us if you’d like to help with future clean-ups or join the Club.”
Takoma/Langley Crossroads Development Authority Executive Director, Melanie Isis:
“The Takoma/Langley CDA commends the Young Activist Club and City of Takoma Park for banning polystyrene for foodservice ware, and eliminating Styrofoam lunchtrays at MCPS cafeterias. These are major accomplishments that demonstrate government can make good choices and adjust policy when presented with facts presented by articulate and persuasive activists.”
Mark Choe, Owner of Mark’s Kitchen in Takoma Park:
“Converting to only environmentally friendly containers has not only made our customers very happy and but has also helped the restaurant enormously in reducing waste.”
Meaghan Murphy, Co-Owner of Capital City Cheesecake in Takoma Park:
“We support and join the Young Activist Club in their mission to make a difference. We want to thank the Young Activist Club for all their efforts and our proud to partner with them.”
or friend us on Facebook ” Young Activist Club”