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Catholic Health System Eliminates Styrofoam January 5th, 2012

Bon Secours St. Francis Health System in Greenville, South Carolina has completely eliminated its use of Styrofoam plates, cups, and bowls in cafeterias at both Greenville campuses as part of a 3-year-old, system-wide green initiative and as a way to be a model to the wider Greenville community.

Karen Schwartz, the hospital system’s vice president for facilities, says that the move was inspired by the fact that as a petroleum-based product, Styrofoam doesn’t decompose or go away over time in a landfill. It stays forever and it takes up space. If you throw it in the ocean, it floats and it can kill sea life. If you burn or incinerate it, the chemicals that were used in the manufacturing of it aerosolize and again has a negative impact on the environment…

“We really couldn’t find a redeeming quality other than the fact that it held stuff.” Schwartz added: “We are all responsible for caring for God’s creation and we are interdependent on one another. It is really short-sighted of me to think that my actions and behaviors don’t impact someone in Haiti, Peru, Africa or China – because they do.” (Story from The Greenville News, 12/30/2011)

We’d like to give a shout out to the Catholic Climate Covenant  for sharing this story in their Weekly  E-Update. For more information, and to sign up, visit their website at:

Catholic Climate Covenant is a project of the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change.


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