By Michael Colglazier, Guest Writer
Alright, I will be the first person to admit that I love eating a sweet treat on the go. Whether it is walking with an ice cream cone, eating a butter cake or snacking on a s’mores bar, fueling up with treats when you do not have time to stay at the Hoff Dining Commons is superb. That is what the green boxes are for.
Recently, the Caf decided to start serving their desserts in plastic to-go containers rather than their standard plates. This choice came seemingly out of nowhere, as the standard has been to serve food on plates unless someone has a green box with them.
Having reusable green boxes, which are able to be washed and reused, is one of the things I love about Xavier. While other dining halls may choose to use Styrofoam boxes for their students on the run, Xavier trusts their students to keep track of their green boxes to reuse.
Hoff’s move to provide desserts in single use plastic containers is a puzzling one. It would be one thing for the Caf to offer plastic containers for anyone who may want to grab a dessert to take home. After all, not only are plastic utensils offered to students, but snacks such as pudding and Jell-O are always set out in plastic cups.
However, the choice to display desserts in plastic containers on the go without offering students an alternative is one that does not make much sense. Many students eat in the Caf and do not need a way to take their food any farther than their table. Now, students eating at Hoff must take their desserts in single-use plastic, regardless of where they plan to eat.
The issue of single-use plastic is one that is continually growing. Plastics such as these are used one time and quickly thrown away without a second thought. There are usually other alternatives, but the convenience of single use plastics is too attractive.
As students become more vocal about their desire to reduce the amount of plastic that goes into landfills, use of plastics still persists at a growing rate.
The fight to combat the growing use of plastic is one that can easily be started in small doses. It’s daunting to think about the millions of tons of plastic that ends up in the oceans each year. It is much easier to begin helping the environment by taking small steps to better one’s own impact.
Being conscientious and controlling the number of plastics a single person uses in everyday life is not only a great way to not only reduce usage of single use plastics, but also great to change people’s perceptions about the control they have over protecting the environment. Nothing is more effective at keeping a person from making a difference than the belief that they cannot make a difference.
Some may believe that this move by Hoff is a good one. Not only are students able to grab desserts with ease, but fewer dishes require washing. However, with the large number of dishes that already need to be washed daily, is the difference between washing and not washing dessert plates really worth dumping more plastic in landfills?
If the issue is the number of dishes being washed, there are alternatives. Desserts could be served on large trays, so as to be easily laid out for students to put on the plate they are already using for their entree. This would eliminate the need for both plastic containers and small, single item dishes.
While I will admit that I have eaten a dessert out of a plastic container in the past couple of days, I do not think that this is a matter of choosing between reducing the use of plastic and eating a slice of cake. Someone should not have to take a plastic container if they want to grab more to eat.
The next time I want to take food back to my room with me, I am taking my green box along for the ride.