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The Blue & Gray Press | August 15, 2018

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Green dining options start

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BY CAMILLE TURNER

The University of Mary Washington launched a reusable “to go” container program with Dining Services by Sodexo on Wednesday Oct. 2. The “Choose to Reuse” program is part of Sodexo’s “Better Tomorrow Plan,” which is focused on protecting the environment.

The UMW Ecology Club helped bring “Choose to Reuse” to UMW.

According to Evelyn Hartman, senior anthropology major, coordinator for the President’s Council on Sustainability and an officer of the UMW Ecology Club, students have to “buy in” to the program, which is $5 per year. Students can purchase their containers with their meal plan flex dollars at any of the campus dining locations.

Rose Benedict, marketing coordinator for UMW Dining Services, said that after using a container, students will need to return the empty and rinsed container to Seacobeck Hall. They will then receive either a new container or a token which they can later redeem for a container.

The Ecology Club began working on implementing the reusable containers after hearing complaints from students about the loss of plastic containers at WOW Cafe & Wingery, according to Hartman.

The Ecology Club worked to get the plastic containers removed from WOW Cafe and Wingery last year, according to Hartman

“The production of plastic containers requires energy, water and other resources,” said Hartman. “Even if students are recycling them, it still requires a lot of energy to have them recycled.”

Hartman said she believes students will be excited about the reusable containers.

“Reusable containers offer students a way to reduce their carbon footprint, as well as their environmental and social impact,” said Hartman.

The Ecology Club is also working to get dining halls to compost, said Hartman.

Benedict said the Ecology Club was very helpful in implementing the program.

“We had tried in the past to do something that would’ve required all the students to participate. This program could be very successful because it’s voluntary,” said Benedict.

Lillian Bumstead, sophomore biology major, said she believes it is important for UMW to implement programs that are environmentally friendly.

“I think that it is a good idea because it cuts down on waste,” said Bumstead.

According to Benedict, sustainability is one of the key drivers for Sodexo. Under their “Better Tomorrow Plan,” Sodexo announced initiatives to reduce waste and carbon and water footprints.

Last year, UMW’s Eagle Dining by Sodexo won the Marstel-Day and Stafford Printing Green Frontier Award for their sustainability efforts.

Roy Platt, general manager of Dining Services, said the program is important because it gives students the option to reduce their environmental impact.

“Sustainability is getting to be more and more of a hot button throughout the world, and I think that we at least need to offer people a choice,” said Platt.