Use Sustainable Packaging in University of Alabama Dining Facilities

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Use Sustainable Packaging in University of Alabama Dining Facilities

This petition made change with 410 supporters!
Jack Maurer started this petition to The University of Alabama and

After transitioning to grab-and-go only, Bama Dining facilities largely failed to charge students for additional reusable to-go containers. Because there was no penalty for not returning the containers, many students threw them away, quickly forcing Bama Dining to revert to the use of polystyrene (Styrofoam) to-go boxes. These boxes cannot be recycled in Tuscaloosa and take centuries to decompose. Because of their light weight, they often blow into the ocean, where marine animals and birds may ingest pieces of polystyrene and become sick or die.

With thousands of students taking meals in polystyrene containers, the university is likely generating at least 1,000 pounds of polystyrene waste per day. If dining facilities remain limited to grab-and-go for the remainder of the semester, they could produce over 40 tons of polystyrene waste, which will take hundreds of years to decompose. That is unacceptable.

Of course, reusable containers are no better than polystyrene if students throw them in the trash. Before the switch to polystyrene, students were supposed to return their used containers in exchange for tickets which could be redeemed for a meal in a reusable container. However, dining hall employees generally did not require students to present a ticket to receive food, effectively making the containers free and (temporarily) unlimited. If reusable containers are to be reintroduced, Bama Dining management must ensure that students who fail to return their containers do not receive new ones. Tickets must be given only in exchange for returned containers or a significant fee, and a list must be kept of students who have received their complimentary first container in order to prevent students from receiving multiple free containers. Students without tickets must not be served.

We demand that dining facilities at the University of Alabama stop using polystyrene. Bama Dining management must take the steps outlined above to guarantee compliance with the reusable container system, or use disposable containers made from biodegradable materials.

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This petition made change with 410 supporters!

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