If you ever watch the Environmental Service Workers (ESWs) removing the trash bags from their bins, you’d see the bags are filled with plastic and paper cups from Starbucks, Peet’s, and Connections. Unfortunately, with Monroe County’s new recycling rules, none of these cups are recyclable anymore. So, who have to be the heroes after this tragic turn of events? We do.
Over the summer, Dining Team Green worked with Dining Services and the coffee shops on campus to extend an incentive program for that was developed last year that encourages Students to drink sustainably. Our punch card rewards students who use a reusable mug at Starbucks, Peet’s, and Connections ten times with a free pastry from any shop. But why, other than for the free pastry, should you use a reusable mug? Imagine the volume of trash you’ve contributed to landfills from all of your drinks. Multiply that by the number of people at the University of Rochester, the number of people in New York state, the number of people in the United States. That’s a lot of coffee cups, and a lot of trash.
But all of that waste doesn’t have to exist. If you, and the person next to you, and the person next to them, switch to using reusable mugs, you’re already making a difference. And now, you get rewarded for it ;).
When I was handing out our punch cards during Orientation, a lot of students asked me what counts as a reusable mug. A reusable mug is any reusable water bottle, thermos, or coffee mug. So, what you have on your desk or in your backpack right now will work! And if you don’t have a reusable mug or water bottle, you’re not cool. Just kidding. You should get one, trust me. Using a reusable mug on campus can get you coffee or tea for $1.39. You could even use your reusable mug at any Starbucks, Peet’s or Dunkin’ Donuts off campus and receive a discount. Basically, you win everywhere if you have a reusable mug.
You also don’t have to worry if you didn’t get a punch card when Team Green was tabling outside of the dining halls, or if you lost yours! You can always get a punch card at Starbucks, Peet’s, and Connections.
This year, Dining Services has made an even bigger effort to promote sustainability in dining on campus. Douglass Dining Hall no longer provides disposable Java cups and instead has a sign encouraging the use of reusable hot beverage containers. To get a bag at The Pit, Hillside, or Grab n’ Go you now have to ask for one and you get your choice of paper or plastic.
Of course, we’re always looking for more ways to make campus more eco-friendly as well as get the student body motivated to think sustainably. If you have any other ideas to help us achieve these goals, or how the campus can reduce waste from consuming food and drink, let us know by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Image by Daniel Spils
Guest Post Written by Elissa Moy, Class of 2021, Dining Team Green Marketing Intern