Photo by Anna Oprisch

Students and faculty used compostable utensils and plates at the President's Picnic in the Student Center atrium on Sept. 7.



September 18th, 2017

President's annual picnic cuts down on wasteful practices

Like guards watching a castle, volunteers in neon green vests dutifully stood watch at the composting bins around the Student Center atrium during the annual President’s Picnic on Thursday, Sept. 7. 

These volunteers played a key role in ensuring that the picnic attendees put their waste in the appropriate bins with the goal of reducing all of it.

Two weeks prior to the picnic, Jennifer McMillin, Cleveland  State’s director of sustainability, was in the process of devising a proposal to the University’s dining and catering service asking it to switch to compostable serving materials at all of its events.

The department agreed to give the idea a trial run, at the upcoming picnic, and discovered that compostable serving ware actually cost 33 percent less than the standard plastic plates.

During common hour on Sept. 7, Cleveland State catered to 3,000 students with 100 percent compostable plates, napkins, cups and utensils, and diverted 363 pounds of weight from going into a landfill while accumulating under two pounds of trash, according to McMillin. In two weeks time, all of this waste would have already turned into compost soil.

When 15 students were posed a question regarding Cleveland State’s effort to reduce waste  and use more compostable materials, the feedback was in favor of the initiative.

Deborah Fitzpatrick, a second-year graduate student, commented, “I think it’s important because there’s so many students here, and I know we go through a lot of different trash … the fact that a school like Cleveland State is doing this is awesome.”

Kyle Erb, a first-year student, explained how he likes the idea of composting, and is already familiar with it because his girlfriend’s family is made up of avid “composters.”

“I like the fact that everything is compostable, where nothing has to be wasted,” Erb said.
These students all agreed that this is an important initiative for Cleveland State to continue its efforts to go green, and a significant step toward a positive change for both the Univeristy and the environment.


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