A proposal to reduce dining hall waste

Apr 20th, 2017 | By | Category: 2016-2017, Opinions

By Madelyn Jones
Staff Writer

Willamette is a school that prides itself in its forward-thinking and green campus, but there is still a wide area for improvement.

A huge amount of waste is made everyday on campus. This is not entirely avoidable, not only due to the vast amount of paper the academic world requires, but the amount of students living on campus. However, there are still ways the school could reduce its output of waste.

Over spring break, I was talking to my sister who went to Occidental College, a liberal arts school in California, and she told me about their initiative to reduce waste from the dining hall. This initiative gave students the choice to use reusable clamshells.

I suggest this initiative to be implemented as follows: Students who want to partake, sign up and are given a reusable clamshell. At Occidental, students would drop off their used, dirty clamshells for a token to get a clean one. Another possibility is for students to wash and reuse the same one on their own.

With this system, people get a choice to participate or not. This should yield a higher success rate since the people involved are more likely to follow through because they made the choice by their own prerogative.

As someone who takes lunch to-go almost everyday, I feel guilty for the amount of waste I alone accumulate and would be more than happy to take such simple measures to make the campus even slightly more green. I am sure many other students on campus share my feelings since this school tends to be populated with people who care about the environment and how they impact it.

Hopefully this plan would also cut costs for administration. There would be an upfront fee for the new clamshells, but if enough people participate, less disposable boxes would have to be bought since there would be a decrease in demand. Additionally, with the list of voluntary students, administration would only have to buy the amount of reusable boxes that will actually be used and could avoid spending more money than necessary.

Even if this is a plan that would not work on campus, it should act as an example. While reducing waste on a college campus can seem like a big and intimidating topic, small changes like this can help Willamette become more eco-friendly. This idea requires such little effort to reduce a significant amount of trash and I am sure many students on campus would be willing to participate.

The United States political leaders have made it clear that they are not going to protect the environment, but that does not mean everyone else should sit idly by. It is important to care for and protect our earth so it can, in return, continue to support us.

I understand that plans like this may seem small and insignificant, but it is still something that potentially inspires other college campuses and can therefore make a bigger impact. I encourage the students and faculty of Willamette to think about what little changes we can make to create a greener campus.

 

mgjones@willamette.edu

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