Center for a Sustainable Society encourages campus to cut down on waste

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As Pacific University students may have already noticed, dining services have replaced their ceramic plates with bamboo plates. This replacement is one of the Center for a Sustainable Society’s (CSS) several steps to make Pacific a more sustainable campus.

Director of CSS, Michelle Larkins, states that CSS worked together with Aramark to replace the ceramic plates with bamboo plates. They hoped to send a message to markets that bamboo is a renewable material that is more sustainable, durable and longer lasting than the previous ceramic.

“It is both made of a responsible material as something that will last longer now that it is here at our school,” Larkins said. “It makes ecological sense and it makes financial sense.”

The CSS hopes dining services will continue to replace ceramic and disposable plates with the bamboo.

“We are trying to go to a program that is about less waste,” Larkins said. “But in order to do that, we have to make investments in the products.”

The CSS also wants to expand sustainability efforts beyond dining services by expanding its composting program to other areas on campus. Larkins states that the CSS hopes to make the composting program in the dining hall accessible in all residential spaces, break rooms and businesses around the area.

“Composting is only one part of a sustainable food system,” Larkins said. “Upstream from composting, we want to do a better job of not wasting food because compost is ultimately food waste.”

The CSS is encouraging students, faculty and staff to also help their effort to make Pacific University more sustainable. Individuals on and off campus can help by reducing the amount of food wasted after meals.

“We want to actually compost less food because it means that we are wasting less,” said Larkins. Those looking to help the cause can donate excess food to the food share located in Scott Hall or other food pantries and shelters in the Forest Grove community.

People on campus can also improve sustainability at Pacific by utilizing Starbucks’s Mug Library.


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