EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - Hello! I'm Max, a current junior at East Brunswick High School and its representative to the East Brunswick Environmental Commission.

Over the past few years of my attending the school, I've begun to notice the overuse of plastics more and more, with little to no thought of its effect on the environment. From styrofoam trays and cups to plastic bowls and cutlery, the cafeteria (and, frankly, the whole school) is rampant with single-use products that can take millenia to decompose; leaving more than enough time for lots of animals to try and eat it and die from not being able to digest the stuff.

In fact, some of these plastics can even manage to make it to the ocean or other bodies of water. They break down into minute pieces due to a process called 'photodegradation', those pieces then get eaten by microscopic creatures which get eaten by larger animals, eventually resulting in the fish or other marine animal on your plate being chock-full of tiny bits of plastic, which then find a home in our own bodies. Even bottled water and sea salt have been found to carry microscopic bits of plastic within them.

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So, is there anything we can do to prevent the entire world from becoming a plastic wasteland? Yes! In order to save our amazing environment (and that around the globe, too!), there has to be a drastic reduction in the amount of plastics that we use, especially when there are better and more recyclable alternatives.

The largest culprit of plastic waste by far that comes to mind from my daily life is the high school cafeteria. Not only are there countless plastic bowls and trays being used throughout the day for the hundreds of students who buy lunch, but these materials aren't even recyclable. A very small amount of plastics can actually be recycled (including plastic bottles) and those that aren't go straight to landfills to live out the rest of their 1,000 year lifetime.

Thus, to create a more sustainable and less wasteful East Brunswick, I'm trying to make strides in the reduction or eradication of single-use plastics throughout the East Brunswick schools. On March 6, I created a petition to completely wipe out these extremely wasteful and environmentally destructive convenience items, which you can find right here.

In order to make this change, there's going to have to be some major support from throughout the town, not just the schools; so I urge you to sign the petition, and help to create a better East Brunswick and a better Earth! Remember, it's not "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" anymore. It's "Reduce, Reuse, or Refuse."