by Nara Shin | News Writer
Increased trash from disposable utensils and plates has resulted in increased waste from the dining hall this year. Before school started, Sodexo managers and Whitworth staff planned several ways to lower the amount of trash and throughout the year students have joined their efforts.
Stuart Dimmel is the manager of custodial services at Whitworth. According to Dimmel, approximately 39 tons of garbage were generated in September and October 2019. This year, 54 tons of waste were generated during that same time period.
Besides the dramatic increase of trash in the dining hall due to COVID-19 sanitary precautions, other places on campus, such as residence halls, have seen a noticeable rise in garbage.
“With the increase of waste this year, we have added additional waste containers around the HUB. And, now that the weather isn’t as nice, we have seen more waste in each of the dorms,” Dimmel said. “One-way students can help us is by removing their trash to the outside dumpster rather than place them in the common area trash in each of the dorms. If they did this then we would be able to spend more time cleaning and disinfecting and less time removing the garbage from the dorms.”
The custodial department utilizes continuous waste management on Tuesdays to keep the campus clean and handle the increase in trash. Chirs Eichorst helps coordinate these efforts as the assistant vice president of facilities services.
“The highest priority of our campus is everyone’s safety. We are working hard on garbage collection, recycling and composting,” Eichorst said.
Multiple students concerned about the increase of garbage have actively participated in creating change. Senior Andrew Wiebers created a video on how to recycle waste correctly and freshman Molly Hanson donated 500 sustainable silverware sets to Sodexo which were handed out to students in October.
“I knew what I needed to do…At least 4,500 plastic utensils are thrown away a day at Whitworth, [and] 135,000 are used and thrown away in a month,” Hanson said. “I have been conscious of the waste that I have produced all my life.”
However, the convenience of packaged silverware continues to make them more commonly used than sustainable silverware. During the last week of November, Sodexo managers plan to remind the students to use their sustainable silverware sets.
Before the end of the semester, a video showing the process of waste disposal will be shown in the dining hall. Students can see how they could be contributing to the decrease of waste and what they can do to reduce the garbage.
“Sustainability is not one person’s responsibility, it’s the mindset of a community,” Hanson said.
For information about being a part of campus sustainability events, visit https://whitworthdining.sodexomyway.com/ and check out the page on Instagram @whitworthdining.