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BOE OKs new plastic trays

February 17, 2009|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- A contract for more than 10,000 polycarbonate plastic trays for Washington County Public Schools was approved Tuesday.

Jeff Proulx, the school system's supervisor of food and nutrition services, said the new trays are resistant to cuts and shattering, and should last 15 to 20 years.

The school board agreed to pay $45,924 to FPC Distribution of Elkridge, Md., for 10,320 trays, or 860 dozen.

Twelve companies submitted a total of 14 bids -- four of which were lower than FPC Distribution's.

The lowest bid was $36,532.80, submitted by Calico Industries of Annapolis Junction, Md.

But Lisa Freeman, the school system's supervisor of purchasing, said the lower bids were for trays that didn't meet standards established by the National Sanitation Foundation.

Certification by the National Sanitation Foundation, an independent testing laboratory, ensures that bacteria can be thoroughly removed from trays when they're cleaned, according to a memo Freeman prepared.

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The only local bidders were Johnnie's Restaurant & Hotel Services Inc. of Chambersburg, Pa., at $47,368.80, and Gilbert's Refrigeration of Frederick, Md., at $49,536.

The compartmented trays are scheduled to be delivered to elementary and middle schools in late March or early April.

Noting that polycarbonate plastic isn't biodegradable, board member Donna Brightman asked Proulx how the trays might be recycled after they're no longer used. Proulx said he would investigate.

Biodegradable sugar cane trays are four times as expensive, Proulx said.

"That's depressing," Brightman said.

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