Dining Services Pioneers Polystyrene Recycling Program

Dining Services is now working with Hallsmith-Sysco Food Services in what it calls the "resource recovery program." This recycling effort--believed to be the only one of its kind in the country--involves a partnership among Hallsmith-Sysco, MHC, and the manufacturers of polystyrene plates, cups, bowls, platters, and eating utensils. The goals are to recycle materials from Blanchard, cut costs, reduce the amount of material shipped to the local landfill, and cut down on the use of paper.

Based on a barter system, the pilot program aims to create an environmentally sound, economically attractive "closed-loop" cycle in which MHC purchases products from Hallsmith, and recyclable packaging from those products is returned to the distributor and then shipped to the manufacturers, who convert it to reusable products.

In a designated area in Blanchard, customers can help by using the proper recycling bins for trash, bottles, and polystyrene. It is extremely important to the success of the program that people adhere to the directions posted at the recycling area.

Dining Services assistant director of cash operations Mark Garner hopes to soon have a compactor on the premises to compress the polystyrene for pickup. This will further reduce the amount of trash going to the landfill. Eventually, says Garner, Dining Services will explore expanding the program to dining halls throughout the campus.

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