Cosumnes Oaks High School Freshmen Tackle Styrofoam Use in Their City

ELK GROVE -- A group of Cosumnes Oaks High School freshmen is getting a taste of big-time politics by organizing an effort to ban styrofoam from the city of Elk Grove.

The students will make a presentation on the merits of blocking the use of the polystyrene foam commonly used as packing material and food containers.

The group is an offshoot of the campus Environmental Club -- but this is no mere science or civics project.

A similar ban has been hotly debated at the State Capitol and around 120 cities in California have styrofoam bans or restrictions now in place.

The students will be getting a taste of big-time politics. The California Restaurant Association is suing San Diego for its ban, which takes effect this month.

CRA has claimed that anti-littering efforts and recycling would do more to remove the substance from the environment. It says replacing styrofoam with cardboard to make cups and food containers would cost consumers $376 million and put 8,000 jobs at risk statewide without significantly affecting the stream of waste that's collected.

Still, the students are undaunted, feeling that their opinions as young people who have a long future should carry some weight. They also have a streak of pragmatism.

The students are on the agenda for the city council's Wednesday meeting, although there is no proposal up for a vote at that time. If the council doesn't eventually approve a ban, the group will push for a ban in the Elk Grove Unified School District or their campus as the first step to a complete ban for the city.

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