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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

So Whatever Happened to Recycling Foam Utensils in the Cafeteria?

The short story: The vendor has withdrawn from the process due to lack of facilities for processing the used utensils.

The long story: Currently, there are no vendors available to us that have a processing facility to sort/clean used food ware. About a year and a half ago, the vendor that collected this material was no longer able to survive financially by doing this. A second vendor attempted to do the same last year. The problem lay in the standards that the vendor used for the waste. A zero-contamination level is impossible to achieve in any place, and this was a criteria placed upon us and other schools after the first few weeks. This was a problem for a number of universities and hospitals in the Boston area. Since this was essentially unworkable, the service had to be suspended this September.

However, relatively speaking cafeteria foam represents a small portion by weight and volume of the recyclables compared to the behind-the-scenes recycling. More importantly, Sodexho and the recycling/sustainability program are looking at the feasibility of using more sustainable materials such as compostable paper items to enhance the use of sustainable materials in the cafeteria.

In the meanwhile, continue to recycle the bottles and cans in the cafes and around the campus, and know that the pre-consumer cafeteria food waste is being composted, and all of the back-of-the-house metal cans and cardboard are being recycled. Stay tuned!