Troop 390 Presents Service Project to the Mayor of Tempe

Posted: Jan 13, 2012

By Leigh Farr

When Girl Scouts at Rover Elementary learned that their school was using non-recyclable lunch trays made of Styrofoam, they decided to launch a service project to help their school district go green. Styrofoam, they discovered, is a non-sustainable resource that is difficult to recycle and is manufactured with styrene, a chemical that has been shown to cause negative health effects.

In October 2010, with the encouragement of lifetime Girl Scout Barbara Gorton, the Girls Scouts presented their ideas to their principal and to the superintendent of the Tempe Elementary School District. One month later, they were invited to give a presentation to the school district board. They shared samples of eco-friendly lunch trays with members of the board and served bags of homemade cookies decorated with official Girl Scouts stickers that read “Girl Scouts Go Green.”

The president of the board invited the girls to visit a Styrofoam compactor owned by Mesa Public Schools. There they learned that Styrofoam trays can be compacted into bricks, and then made into flowerpots. Although this solution seemed better than discarding the lunch trays into a landfill, the girls decided that the best solution for the environment—and for student health—would be to promote using eco-friendly lunch trays made from recyclable materials.

Based on the girls’ efforts, Rover became a pilot school for testing “No-Styrofoam Tray Mondays” In April 2011. The Girl Scouts didn’t want to stop there. So they took their presentation to the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Commission. The members of the Commission were supportive of their efforts and reported on the troop’s service project at the City Hall’s Issue Review Session.

But their journey wasn’t over. The girls’ next step was to write a letter to the Mayor of the City of Tempe to request a meeting. On January 6, 2012, Mayor Hugh Hallman invited the girls to Tempe City Hall. The girls shared their extensive research with the Mayor about the environmental and health effects of Styrofoam lunch trays. They explained what other school districts are doing to save the environment and they outlined their goal to replace Styrofoam lunch trays with an eco-friendly alternative. They also presented a basket of Girl Scout cookies to the Mayor provided by Arizona Cactus-Pine Council!

The girls are excited to see what the City plans to do to support their service project.  They plan to continue their quest to stamp out Styrofoam in their school district and hope to continue gathering the support of school administrators and city politicians to achieve their goal to help save the environment.

Back row: Mayor Hugh Hallman
Front row, from left to right: Camille Morton-Sandy, Tai Christensen, Juliet Farr, Rebekah McFarland, Denecia Palomino