The July 2018 edition of the Pasadena Voice included a story about the advocacy efforts of Bodkin students Niko Papa, Barrett Aiken, Alex McCreery, Owen McCreery, and future Bodkin student Griffin Aiken. Together, they lobbied for polystyrene to be removed from Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS). Their year-long efforts proved successful in February 2019 when the Anne Arundel County Council voted to ban polystyrene from food service facilities starting in February 2020.
As part of their argument, the students explained how polystyrene will not degrade when in a landfill and, even worse, breaks down to microplastics that harm oceans and human health. When incinerated, polystyrene releases harmful chemicals into the air. In line with Bodkin’s Changemakers curriculum and green school initiatives, these students attended county council meetings and a Board of Education meeting and spoke to those in charge about the need to rid schools of polystyrene trays.
County Executive Steuart Pittman signed the bill into law on February 28. He was joined by District 6 Councilmember Lisa Rodvien and students Alex McCreery, Owen McCreery, Niko Papa and Niko’s father, Kenneth.