There are many ways that we generate waste here at Puget Sound and at other campuses. One of the biggest offenders is through cafeteria systems. For example, here at Puget Sound we are given the option of paper or ceramic plates when eating in the Diner, and both have the option of being used as to-go containers, though it is discouraged with the ceramic plates.
In the to-go scenario both of these options have problems. With the paper plates there is a lot of waste created while the ceramic plates are not always returned resulting in many missing dishes that have to be replaced at high costs. By the middle of the 2007 fall semester there was already over $20,000 worth of missing plates, bowls, silverware and trays. Through dish amnesty days the university encourages students who may have taken these dishes to return them. There has also been some campaigning by the Sustainability Advisory Committee with fun posters that ask students to return what they may have borrowed.
On Campus Success Stories
This program was established by Students for a Sustainable Campus through a grant from the Sustainability Advisory Committee (SAC) and a partnership with Facilities Services and Dinning & Conference Services. Behind the kitchens is a tent containing five worm bins that process the pre-consumer waste (carrot tops, melon rinds, etc) generated by food preparation in the cafeteria. The worms convert this food waste to compost which can then be used around campus by facilities services for grounds work.