Going green for change

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November 6, 2009

1:41 AM

With the new reusable, plastic to-go containers offered by the William and Mary Dining Services, students can go green while earning green.

Starting next semester, with each use of the environmentally friendly container, students will receive $0.10 Flex Points, to their accounts.

It’s a common sight throughout campus: to-go containers protruding from the tops of trashcans. While they are made from a biodegradable material, the current boxes still pose the problem of excessive trash. The new, reusable containers are meant to decrease this aspect of campus waste dramatically.

“Currently, the dining halls are going through hundreds of to-go containers a day,” Sarah Will ’10, one of the sustainability interns working with Dining Services, said. “It’s not only wasteful but a waste of money.”
Along with Will, Ian Fuller ’11 and Christy Ottinger ’10, have been working since August to create and implementing their own sustainability projects throughout campus.

Expanding upom a pilot program from last year, which was funded by the Committee on Sustainability, the new program will be featured in both the Sadler Center dining hall and the Commons dining hall beginning spring 2010.

Through the pilot program, 24 reusable containers were purchased and tested by the Eco House. The responses and results were so positive that Aramark, along with the efforts of Dining Services Directors Larry Smith and Matt Moss, decided to order 700 reusable to-go containers to distribute campus-wide.

The containers represent an increase in the efforts of the College of William and Mary to promote a greener, more sustainable future. Since 2005, the Sustainable Endowments Institute – a non-profit organization engaged in research and education to encourage sustainability on college campuses – has been grading the College on its overall sustainability.

Each year, the College’s grade has steadily improved, culminating in a B for the 2010 school year, due largely to the efforts of Dining Services working closely with student organizations and sustainability interns.
Some students are already looking forward to the new program.

Patrick Carlson ’11, who has the Gold 14 meal plan, thinks the program will encourage a more sustainable lifestyle for those who utilize the to-go service.

“It seems like a good program and a great incentive to promote recycling,” he said. “I go to the dining halls once or twice a day, but I can see myself getting to-go more often now.”

Dining Services thought the added bonus of receiving Flex Points is an excellent incentive to encourage students to bring back their containers. While details on how the points will be dispensed are still being worked out, those who are on the run and big on to-go will see the money add up quickly.

“It’s nice that we can get something back for doing what we’d do anyway,” Carlson said.

To receive one of the reusable containers for next semester, contact Ian Fuller at [email protected]

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