MISHAWAKA, IN—Most would agree that Bethel has a visually pleasing campus. Lots of trees and flowers with plenty of birds, squirrels, and other creatures make it feel very natural and green. However, Bethel uses a lot of single-use plastic. Not only does Bethel use a lot of this plastic and other non-biodegradables, finding a place on campus to recycle even the plastics is so incredibly difficult that often people do not even try.
When speaking to an unnamed member of the housekeeping staff, she reported that often much of what could be recycled isn’t, simply because it is too much of a hassle.
What is the main supply of single-use plastics and non-biodegradable materials on campus? It seems to be the Dining Commons. However, this is not the fault of any of the staff or Sodexo itself. In fact, the use of the plastic and other such materials cost extra for them. Perhaps the single largest on-campus source is to-go meals from the Dining Commons.
“We spend way over $300 a week on to-go containers. I hate it, but we do. If we went to all biodegradable it would be more than $1500 a week,” says James Metherd, head of culinary services here at Bethel.
When asked why the to-go service was still offered, Mr. Metherd replied that he has proposed several times to Bethel’s administration to find another option, but that disposable to-go containers and the ability to use them were important to certain members of the administration. So, the disposable to-go containers continue to circulate, and the recycling options continue to be limited.
Until the time when disposable to-go containers are replaced with reusable ones or recycling options are more available, please be considerate of your environment by being conscientious about your plastic use.