Food waste is an often-overlooked cause of pollution. Courtesy Flickr

Dining Services moves towards sustainability

On-campus efforts to go green continue in ACAC and the cafeteria.

TU’s Dining Services began working hard to bring in bio-friendly, paper products in 2013. Since then, according to director Mike Neal, bio-friendly products have only become cheaper. “Wherever possible, all to-go containers and paperware on campus, including “Simply to Go,’ are recyclable, and in some cases, they are second- to fifth-generation recycled products,” Neal said.
This includes the coffee cups in the library coffee shop. They are made of 10 percent post-consumer recycled fiber. The coffee sleeves are made from 60 percent post-consumer recycled fiber and use approximately 45 percent less material than a second paper cup.
Neal added, “All napkins used in our retail and resident dining venues are 30 – 60 percent post-consumer fiber.”
TU’s dining facilities use the BioMass packaging system for foodservice. BioMass packaging is specifically designed with renewable sourcing, production and disposal in mind.
All packaging made from these bio-friendly sources is carbon neutral. This means, when burned, the carbon released is equal to what the plant absorbed from the atmosphere during growth. If composted, the carbon stays fixed in the compost, replenishing the soil.
The Allen Chapman Student Union contains many blue recycling bins for students to put their food containers in when finished.
Most items in which Student Union food is served are recyclable and biodegradable. An exception, however, is the Chick-fil-A Styrofoam cup.
Bottles available in vending machines around campus and in the Student Union are either part of Coca-Cola or Pepsi’s plant-bottle programs. Coke makes its bottles with PET plastic made from 30-percent plant-based materials. Pepsi uses PET plastic made entirely from plant-based materials, as of 2012.
Both options are recyclable at any number of the blue recycling receptacles around campus.
The Pat Case Dining Center scrapped its dining tray program several years ago to cut back on campus food waste and water usage. Many of TU’s buildings have bottle-filling stations attached to water fountains. Students can use these to avoid adding plastic to landfills. When finished with a bottle, a student can recycle it in any of the blue receptacles on campus.
“The Collegian,” as all newspapers, is recyclable as well.

Post Author: Alex Garoffolo