Dining services works to go green

Brittany Moseley

KSU partners with nature-based company to bolster biodegradables

Going green is a trend that’s common on campus, and dining services is getting on board.

Dining services is working with Excellent Packaging and Supply, a nature based company, to bring biodegradable packaging to campus this semester.

Although the new packaging is better for the environment, it will cost students more.

“Compared to Styrofoam, (you’re) looking at three to four times the cost,” said Steven Levine, founder of Excellent Packaging and Supply. “The additional cost looks to be 75 cents per students per month.”

Levine said in the case of students, the cost is added to the price of food or to the meal plan.

Still, the cost increase isn’t discouraging Andrea Spandonis, director of dining services, from trying the product.

“It’s kind of hard to define what is the economic cost versus the environmental cost,” she said. “Just because it costs more doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it.”

Students taking their food to-go will be able to choose between the biodegradable products or Styrofoam, Spandonis said.

“What we’re trying to do is get to the point where we can offer both and see how students react to paying additional costs to help the environment,” she said. “We have to put both out there and see what direction we can take this in.”

Amanda Krolikowski, freshman special education major, said she would pay more for biodegradable packaging.

“If you’re already paying, then why not pay more to make it better?” she said.

Michelle Arnst, freshman visual communication design major, said she would also pay the additional cost.

“I’m against global warming, and I care about the environment,” Arnst said. “Anything that will help out is good with me.”

Biodegradable products are present on many college campuses, and Levine said the demand continues to increase.

“We had a very large movement last fall,” he said. “It began to come on in a slow way last spring and then last fall it started to move quicker.”

Excellent Packaging works with more than 100 universities, and the company gets five to 15 calls a day from new schools. Even with the increased interest, Levine said going green is still a small movement.

“We become so completely reliant on fossil fuels for packaging that we see no other choices,” Levine said. “If you never knew that a fork was made of fossil fuels, why would you even think about it?”

Part of the company’s job is to educate people about different choices, he said.

“When people become aware that fork they’re using is made of fossil fuel, and they have a choice that is not made of fossil fuel that will compost and will biodegrade, a lot of people are making a good choice,” he said.

Once biodegradable products come to campus, dining services will know if students are willing to pay more to go green or if most would rather use Styrofoam.

Still, Spandonis said every little bit helps, even if it means grabbing one less napkin during dinner.

“Think about those things that you do. If you can use less, please do,” Spandonis said. “Everybody has to do what they can and what they believe to be right.”

Contact room and board reporter Brittany Moseley at [email protected].