By: KATELYN FIRESTEIN
Sustainability club secretary and Sodexo employee Cassidy Parks started a petition to remove all Styrofoam from campus. Most Styrofoam is used in food services, so the petition calls for Sodexo, the dining services at IU South Bend, to make changes.
“The bad thing about Styrofoam is that it is one of the products overpopulating landfills. There is so much of it and it is left for such a long time. You would think that we could just burn it to get rid of it right? Well actually when you burn the Styrofoam it releases a chemical called ‘styrene gas’ which is dangerous for the nervous system when inhaled. Overall, it is hard to get rid of and is bad for the environment,” Parks explained.
Additionally, “the main reason we’d like to get rid of Styrofoam, or specifically polystyrene, is that it is non-biodegradable and will sit in landfills. It also leeches small amounts of styrene into the food or beverage consumed, over-time adding up and causing negative effects,” described Sustainability Club Treasurer Nathaniel Ballesteros.
According to Parks, 10,000 Styrofoam containers have already been used on campus this year.
Andrew Vardell, the general manager of Sodexo on campus, has been involved in the process of pushing for a healthier alternative.
“This all started with me getting some information about these products for a group project. Andrew told me about the alternatives and backing we need to make this happen…he has been very supportive,” explained Parks.
Vardell has considered a GreentoGo alternative, which would entail reusable food containers. Usage and prices have made the decision complicated, but Parks hopes that with her petition and IU South Bend student and faculty support, Vardell will have enough reason to switch.
The petition can be found at https://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/725/829/121/.