Luther needs reusable mugs

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It is always a dark day when I arrive at Nordic Brew only to find that I have tragically forgotten my coffee mug. However, the darkness soon passes when I remember that all is not lost and I can still get my coffee, if I only invest in the paper cup, the plastic lid, and the paper sleeve. It seems a small price to pay when I a desperate and despondent at 7:30 in the morning.

But what if Nordic Brew and Sunnyside didn’t even have paper cups? Some might call this cruel, others might say that maybe people would try harder to remember their mugs if the alternative was not having coffee (death).

Getting rid of paper cups at Sunnyside and Nordic Brew would be an easy way to cut down on the waste our campus produces. Luther is a place where people care about sustainability, but we have had some issues with waste disposal.

Students received an email in September telling us that our recycling was so contaminated, it had to go to the landfill. This is really embarrassing for a school that has the phrase “joyful stewardship of the resources that surround us” in its mission statement.

Reducing waste in dining services is an essential part of making Luther a more sustainable school. . . Eliminating the paper cups is a logical next step in reducing our waste.””

— Grace Onsrud ('20)

During my time at Luther, I have observed that the Nordic Brew cups pose a unique challenge for students attempting to recycle. Nobody seems to have figured it out. Part of it is plastic and past of it is paper? But maybe it is the wrong kind of paper? And there is a tea bag in there with a staple in it?? Maybe we just throw everything away??? College did not prepare us for such a complex situation. The easiest way to eliminate the confusion about how to dispose of all the different parts of those cups would be to get rid of them altogether.

Instead of giving everyone those plastic cups at orientation, Luther could give everyone a travel mug. Nordic Brew and Sunnyside might have to keep a supply of paper cups for visitors, but students and faculty could be required to bring their own. Nordic Brew and Sunnyside have some ceramic cups, but there are not enough reusable mugs to significantly reduce Luther’s waste. More reusable cups should be available at Sunnyside and Nordic Brew so people do not have to rate unnecessary waste, especially when they are not ordering drinks to go.

Sunnyside in particular should have reusable dishes for the crepes and cinnamon rolls instead of putting them all in boxes.

Reducing waste in dining services is an essential part of making Luther a more sustainable school. Luther has made improvements in composting in the past few years, and Grab-N-Go offers some reusable containers. Eliminating the paper cups is a logical next step in reducing our waste.

 

Opinions expressed in columns and letters are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Chips and of organizations with which the author(s) are associated. 

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