Students and faculty will no longer have the option of going green in the dining commons after this quarter.
Autumn Burk, Puyallup campus director of food services, said the green Eco-container program already has been cut at the Fort Steilacoom campus, but the eco-containers still are available in the dining commons on the Puyallup campus—for now.
Burk said that Lancer, which provides food services at other college campuses such as Tacoma, Everett and Shoreline community colleges, found the Eco-containers had a similar low reception as at Pierce.
The Eco-containers are eco-friendly green-colored clear containers that cost $3 per small container and $5 per large; this money acts as a deposit until the container is returned. Customers receive refunds of their deposits when they return the Eco-containers, which makes the containers virtually free. According to the Lancer promotional ad in the dining commons, the Eco-container reduces the use of disposables that have a negative impact on the environment.
“Given how relatively cheap they are, it’s sort of a mystery behind why the Eco-containers were so unpopular,” Burk said. “Essentially, they’re free, so money isn’t the issue as much as the number of people who use the containers on a daily basis.”
Order a meal to-go in the Eco-container instead of a disposable to-go container, rinse the Eco-container once finished, then return the container and get back $3-$5, depending on the size ordered.
This system of reusing the Eco-container only works though if they are being used in the first place. Pierce College staff members, such as Laura Bagley, program support supervisor, uses the Eco-containers and was unhappy with the upcoming discontinuation.
“I have one, and I use it daily,” Bagley said. “I wish they weren’t discontinuing them. I do understand that if you have one they will still honor it, so you can use it and still get the little discount.”
According to Burk, Lancer’s efforts of buying local products, such as vegetables at Mosby Brothers in Sumner Wash., or Kettle Brand potato chips in Portland, Ore., has done quite well serving the Pierce College community. Hopefully, the Eco-containers will make a return to Pierce College so going green is a viable option while eating in the dining commons.
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