The Lakeridge Elementary student Green Team addresses the Mercer Island City Council during their meeting on Jan. 23. The students started a petition to ban Styrofoam in their community. Photo courtesy of Ross Freeman

The Lakeridge Elementary student Green Team addresses the Mercer Island City Council during their meeting on Jan. 23. The students started a petition to ban Styrofoam in their community. Photo courtesy of Ross Freeman

Lakeridge students petition council to ban styrofoam on Mercer Island

As community re-focuses on sustainability, young activists are getting involved.

The Mercer Island City Council was visited by a group of young activists at its Jan. 23 meeting, as the Lakeridge Elementary student Green Team presented a proposal to improve health and sustainability in their community.

The team, led by teacher Heather McLyman, has collected 100 student signatures, plus about 60 on an online petition, to support banning Styrofoam on Mercer Island.

“Only a few restaurants still use Styrofoam to-go containers for their food, but the effect this has on our environment and the potential harmful effects it has on our health, makes this a serious problem that we want to stop,” according to the petition. “Many restaurants on the island already use recyclable and compostable to-go containers and they are readily available for purchase.”

Local businesses Homegrown, Pagliacci, Freshy’s and New Seasons support the petition, said parent and Green Team leader Nancy Weil.

The students have been working on this for months, after applying for a grant through the McKonkey Foundation. Shane McKonkey, a local hero and passionate environmentalist, died in a ski accident. His foundation gives grants to students who make a difference in their cities, Weil said.

The council said it would discuss the ban, possibly at its annual planning session, as it aims to re-focus on sustainability this year. City Sustainability and Communications Manager Ross Freeman gave an update later at the Jan. 23 meeting, and said there was renewed citizen energy around the program. With the help of community groups like Sustainable MI, a Sustainability Action Plan could be drafted in 2018.

See www.mercergov.org/sustainability for more.

Members of the Lakeridge student Green Team, led by Heather McLyman and Nancy Weil, pose with the Mercer Island City Council after their presentation on Jan. 23. Photo courtesy of Ross Freeman

Members of the Lakeridge student Green Team, led by Heather McLyman and Nancy Weil, pose with the Mercer Island City Council after their presentation on Jan. 23. Photo courtesy of Ross Freeman

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