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Letter: Burzenski Concerned Over Ziploc Bag Usage in Schools

(Editor’s Note: This letter was originally sent to Superintendent of Farmingdale Schools John Lorentz and is being reprinted here at the author’s request.)

I am the parent of a first grader at Saltzman East Memorial and I am writing to express my concern about the requirement of Ziploc bags as general school supply list for the students in this district.

We are all aware of the environmental problems our planet faces and how waste, such as non-biodegradable plastic bags, contribute to these problems. We teach our children both at home and in school ways to reduce, reuse and recycle and how to take care of our planet. This is why I am shocked to learn that the Farmingdale School District requires children to bring in a total of approximately 62,260 Ziploc bags per year as a general school supply.

Using the number of total students as reported on Newsday.com multiplied by 20 bags in the average box of Ziploc bags purchased (except where otherwise noted on the supply list), you will find that Albany Avenue accounts for 10,960 bags, Woodward Parkway accounts for 21,440 bags, Saltzman East Memorial accounts for 9,020 bags and Howitt Middle School accounts for 20,840. Even more shocking is that Woodward Parkway kindergarteners alone are asked to supply 14,720 of these bags. Out of the six schools in the district, only Northside Elementary and the Farmingdale High School do not require the use of any Ziploc bags.

There must be a way to replace all these plastic bags with a smaller number of reusable ones. We need to teach our children to respect our planet by setting an example for them. I urge you to work with the schools to correct this error before school supplies are purchased for September. I will contact you next week to discuss possibilities for making a positive change for our schools.

Jennifer L. Burzenski