Ecofriendly dishes further campus 'go-green' efforts

A tower of boxes representing the waste Campus Auxiliary Services will conserve by using biodegradable products greeted students last week in the main floor of the Union.

A sign next to the display gave the figures: 61 cases of 12-ounce Styrofoam cups, 72 cases of salad containers, 122 cases of large food containers; the list continues.

The new biodegradable products are more expensive than the previous materials, but CAS has made the decision to continue using them.

"The costs will not be passed on to the students," said CAS worker Rebecca Kelsch. "CAS is incurring the cost because we really believe it is the right thing to do,"

The plastic containers are made from corn through a process called thermoforming, which uses up to 50 percent less fossil fuel than earlier methods. As these new containers are composed of a natural material, they can break down completely in compost piles.

The recent switch to biodegradable products is only one of many efforts being made on campus to conserve waste and energy.

New high-efficiency washers and dryers can be found in residence halls on the south side of campus, and will eventually be installed throughout the rest of campus.

Students who use reusable mugs issued by CAS receive a 20-cent discount on coffee and tea. Additionally, according to, fair trade coffee - which is used campus-wide - is from a partnership that ensures small-operation coffee farmers around the world receive a fair price for their harvests in order to support themselves and their families.

Some students are dissatisfied with the change CAS has made, however.

"My cup leaked yesterday and I don't know how much I really like the new biodegradable products," said freshman Natalie Chang.

CAS remains confident in their decision to switch over to biodegradable products, and other students agree with their initiative.

"It is so impressive how much is being done here and I think CAS is doing a great job looking out for both the students and the environment," said freshman Lauren Carlevaro.