BY TARYN RIPPLE
Quad Creek Cafe, one of two dining options on campus, serves it’s meals in paper carry out containers, making it a quick and easy dining option. Unfortunately, disposable dishes, while convenient, are not environmentally friendly. There has been effort in the past by introducing the compost bins. However, a new development at Quad has eliminated a part of the source of the dining hall waste.
As of Tuesday, Sept. 25, Chef’s Corner offers reusable dishes and silverware for students who dine in, significantly cutting down on the amount of waste generated by the disposable carry out dishes. This new adjustment promotes environmental awareness and going green. The shift to reusable dishware has been met with mostly positive reception by students and other members of the Drake community.
The amount of unnecessary waste that people produce is a relevant issue for many. According to the Simmons National Consumer Survey, more than 224 million Americans have used disposable dishes and utensils so far this year. That means that about 70 percent of the population contributes to the production of what many claim is one of the largest sources of waste in the world.
One study from Networx shows that switching to reusable dishware is beneficial in more areas than solely eco-friendliness. In addition to greatly reducing the amount of waste produced and decreasing carbon footprint sizes, reusable dishes proved to be financially advantageous and washing them was only slightly time-consuming.
Drake Environmental Action League (DEAL) is an on-campus organization that is committed to promoting and advancing environmental awareness and sustainability. The members of the club aim to protect the environment and challenge themselves to find new ways to go green and help the planet. Quad’s recent change in dishware elicited a positive reaction from many members of the Drake community, particularly those who do work with DEAL.
First-year DEAL member Ella Field weighed in with her thoughts on the importance of environmental awareness and expressed her appreciation for the Chef’s Corner’s switch to reusable dishware.
“Nothing exists without the environment,” Field said. “It supplies all our resources and is key to our health and supporting living beings. With the new dishes in Quad, I can be eco-friendly and generate less waste.”
According to Gabby LeFevre, co-president of DEAL, the switch is a good step in the direction of environmental awareness.
“The best thing for the environment is to reduce in general,” LeFevre said.
LeFevre stated that many of the students who order at Quad eat their food there, which makes serving the meals in disposable containers seem wasteful.
“It only makes sense to use reusable plates when you dine in,” LeFevre said.
LeFevre also shared some of her own tips on being more eco-friendly. She suggests that the most effective way to help the environment is to simply be mindful.
“Ask yourself if you really need that plastic bag or that extra napkin,” LeFevre said. “It’s the little things that count.”