The UW Green Blog


Spotted: Sustainability on Campus
November 10, 2007, 12:43 am
Filed under: HFS

One afternoon, I grabbed my camera and walked around campus in search of ways the UW has made it easier for students to reduce, reuse and recycle. I found that the most environmentally-friendly resources were available in high-traffic areas like the HUB and the McMahon 8 dining hall.

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An “e-media” recycling container in the HUB allows students to recycle old cell phones, batteries, printer cartridges and more. Photo by Devon Mills.

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Students are encouraged to take a free newspaper from the lobby of McMahon Hall and recycle it when they’re finished. Photo by Devon Mills.

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Thanks to this sign, patrons of the McMahon 8 dining hall can’t miss a chance to recycle. Photo by Devon Mills.

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3-D posters help students learn which items to compost and which items to toss in McMahon 8. Photo by Devon Mills.

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This flyer informs students about the utensil options available in McMahon 8. Photo by Devon Mills.

As I explored McMahon 8, I remembered the problems students were having with the heat-sensitive corn-based cutlery. The offending utensils are still widely available in the dining hall, but I only noticed a few of the experimental white birch utensils available. I headed upstairs to the McMahon Hall staff offices to see if Resident Director Darcy Hume could update me on the utensil situation.

Hume told me that all of the white birch utensils are in the process of being pulled from the dining hall. She said there are several problems with them:

* The tines on the forks are too short
* Production of the forks leaves splintered wood between the tines, creating safety issues
* The spoons are very shallow and essentially useless

According to Hume, the cornware will still be available in the dining hall while HFS explores other sustainable utensil options.

As for the complaints students had about the melting corn utensils, I noticed new labels next to the cornware warning students that the utensils are heat-sensitive.

HFS has already experimented with utensils made from corn and renewable white birch. Some people are getting frustrated with their efforts. What will they think of next?

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