Greening the Grab n' Go: Reducing the Plastic Waste of Dining Services at St. Mary’s College of Maryland

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St. Mary's College of Maryland. Environmental Studies Program

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This project aims to reduce plastic waste of the Grab n’ Go food service at St. Mary’s College of Maryland by stopping the usage of plastic bags and by replacing plastic utensils with compostable wooden utensils. Stopping the usage of plastic bags would be done most effectively by giving each student a reusable bag for usage at the Grab n’ Go. Students could purchase more bags at the Campus Bookstore if bags were to get lost, ripped, etc. This initiative would prevent the usage of 2,000 plastic bags per week. Plastic utensils would be replaced by compostable wooden utensils from the company Aspenware, which uses waste trees from the logging industry to produce utensils that could be collected and composted at the Campus Community Farm. A successful trial run with compostable utensils could help to start the composting of other compostable food service products that are already used at SMCM but that are thrown away with regular trash. I will be meeting with David Sansotta and Pat Hunt this summer (in charge of Bon Appetit dining services and Procurement at St. Mary’s, respectively) to discuss the designing and ordering of reusable bags and the trial run of Aspenware utensils. Both initiatives would be tried out during the fall 2015 semester.