Cosumnes Community Services District continues 'People Over Profits' environmental mission, adopts styrofoam ban

Students from Cosumnes Oaks and Elk Grove high schools with advisors, an Elk Grove Planning commissioner and CCSD directors after the adoption of a styrofoam ban at district events. |  


UPDATED 1:45 p.m., August 23 |

By Mackenzie Wieser | Special to Elk Grove News | 

On Wednesday, August 21st around 7 p.m. as I sat at the CCSD Board meeting I had a feeling of excitement about all the hard work that the students from Elk Grove and Cosumnes Oaks high schools put in to raise awareness to the dangers of Styrofoam. 

It wasn't until I began working with these outstanding young leaders that I learned of the dangers of Expanded Polystyrene (EPS), not only to the environment but also to our health. I was "woke," (a catchy new word that the next generation uses when exposed to a new reality, or you become aware) when I learned that for all these years I have been contaminating my curbside recycling bin with Styrofoam containers which I do diligently rinse out upon using. That even though there is a fancy ♻️ symbol with a shiny #6 on it, it is so toxic that the rest of my pristine recycling now must be dumped in the landfill. 

To add insult to my already broken heart as we continued to talk to our City of Elk Grove representatives about the lack of education about how bad these containers are for the earth, wildlife, our young children, and our community we still could not get any messaging out to our residents about a big problem that clearly exists. There is a lack of education about what is being recycled and what ends up in our landfills, and it's time to ensure our community is "woke." 

Just a few months ago this impressive group of students assembled under the leadership of Lysa Munson, Environmental Club advisor at COHS along with EGHS advisor Katrina Lee began to speak out about what needs to change in our city. They have met with the City Council, the Elk Grove Unified School District (which fully supported the students request and through an impressive leadership team just removed all EPS products from the district ordering forms) and now they garnered another win with the Cosumnes Community Services District.

The CCSD has always offered excellence when it comes to parks and recreation, and now they are putting the environment into all the decisions they are making as well. Bravo!

"Working with Bobbie Singh-Allen from Elk Grove Unified School District over the past several years to study the health impact of styrofoam on our community, I asked for a motion to remove styrofoam from CCSD concession stands," CCSD Director Rod Brewer said. "Tonight, the Cosumnes CSD Board's adoption of a ban on styrofoam containers from concession uses is a positive example of government working with the public to create healthy and safer communities. This is truly a great outcome."

Brewer's colleague Orlando Fuentes and Jaclyn Moreno affirmed the board's mission to be responsible environmental stewards. 

"Unanimously the Board agreed, first to move forward with the development of a climate action and sustainability plan, and second, to ban the use of styrofoam, we have sent a clear message - CSD cares about being good stewards of the environment," Moreno said. "We must care - for our community, our planet, and for the generations that come after us."

Fuentes noted the collaborative effort of the students, community members, and the CCSD board.

"I love it when our constituents and our board come together on an issue so vital to our future," Fuentes said. "Thank you for the students, your club advisor, and Mackenzie Wieser for coming forward to advocate on such an important matter."

Notwithstanding the inspirational work of these students, we still have leadership in Elk Grove who honestly believes that DART container company "recycles EPS." If DART container wants to spend millions of dollars on lobbying the value of a product that is proven to be so toxic that it cannot touch your clean recycled goods, then we need to speak up to these leaders and help them understand that the community they represent does not want this product.

DART it should be noted is a significant political contributor to several local politicians in the most recent election cycle. Those politicians include State Senator Richard Pan, Assemblymember Jim Cooper, and Elk Grove city councilmembers Stephanie Nguyen and Darren Suen. 

If city leaders think we all still need to be served these products, and they claim it's being recycled, then they should have the funding to have it picked up curbside. Currently, they believe that if you want it to be recycled, you would rinse it and drive it to the Special Waste Facility off Grant Line Road. 

We all need to use our voices to ensure the manufacturing industry, which continues to profit by serving microbits of plastics in products that we use in our daily lives are instead made of recycled or compostable materials. These plastics end up in landfills due to the lack of need for recycled plastics, oh and China no longer wants our dirty plastics, so we will continue to be living in an ignorance is bliss mentality if we don't push city leaders to help us help the earth. 

Please call your representative and have them support AB1080 and SB54, which are two bills that aim to reduce the amount of virgin single-use plastics being used by manufacturers for the top 10 most littered products. 

Mackenzie Wieser is a member of the Elk Grove Planning Commission.

UPDATED - This story was updated to reflect a more accurate account of the process for bringing the matter to the CCSD boad of directors.  













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3 comments

D.J. Blutarsky said...

The Granite Bay Boys must really be concerned that CSD is out of control now! first, elections by district, climate plan, styrofoam ban, and now comments like "it is part of a broader mission at the CCSD"!

The Granite Bay Boys don't care what the local leaders do, as long as it won't cost them more development money or lost revenues. Granite Bay must be thinking why can't CSD be more like the City Council and just keep to the script? Heck, the City Council doesn't even require them to install trash cans in the parking lots of new businesses!

The Granite Bay Boys are probably not pressing the panic button just yet. But they must be thinking that this liberal, progressive infection better not spread to the City Council, the cadre who have much more broader jurisdiction over their business of converting land into cash.

For now, Granite Bay is content knowing that beer won't be served out of styrofoam cups at the Western Festival. But undoubtedly, they must be mulling over a political strategy to nip this blasphemy in the bud! Off with their cups they say!

Spoons and Forks said...

The work these young leaders have done to make their future better is commendable. When the city council is approached again, they ought to take their proposal serious and not form some bogus committee.

Mackenzie said...

Agreed

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