Fifth-Grader's Petition Prompts Jamba Juice to Ditch Styrofoam

libookperson/CC BY 2.0

Mia Hansen may only be 10 years old, but she has a thing or two to teach grown-ups about making the world a better place.

Earlier this summer, the fifth-grader from Carlsbad, California was visiting a Jamba Juice with her mother when she noticed something that, strangely in her eyes, didn't seem to bother anyone else -- the abundance of Styrofoam cups doled out with every drink order.

Likely knowing full-well that Jamba Juice's Styrofoam cups can take an estimated 1 million years to decompose, Mia decided to do her part to convince "the category-defining leader in healthy blended beverages" to keep in mind the planet's health as well.

So, with her mother's help, Mia took to the internet, starting a petition page on Change.org.

"I'm 10 years old and when I was at Jamba Juice a couple of weeks ago, I ordered a smoothie and they gave it to me in a styrofoam cup! The person behind me ordered yogurt and they gave her yogurt in a styrofoam container, too. That's just ridiculous," writes Mia. "Styrofoam takes so long to break down into the Earth. In the ocean, several animals think that this product is food, so when they go to eat it, the styrofoam can kill them!"

"Will you ask Jamba Juice to stop using styrofoam in all their stores?"

© Change.org

Well, it didn't take long before others added their voices to the simple plea of one youngster -- and in a big way. To date, more than 130 thousand supporters have joined in Mia's anti-Styrofoam cause, enough to catch the attention of Jamba Juice execs.

Last week, Mia announced that her petition had been heard, and that the smoothie-maker would be discontinuing the use of Styrofoam in all their stores:

"Jamba Juice responded to me within three weeks of starting this petition! I spoke with them on the phone and they just sent me a letter that says very clearly that they will not have polystyrene cups in any of their stores by the end of 2013. Can you believe it??!!! Thanks, again, guys -- We Won!!!"

And, while Jamba Juice is surely to be commended for making the move towards more sustainable materials, it's hard not to be humbled that it was the simple wisdom of a child which spurred them into action. And, in the end, perhaps that realization is more powerful than any one cause -- something the 10 year old seems to understand quite well herself:

"It made me feel like anyone of any age in any country can really make a difference in the world."

Tags: Activism

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