Food service in the dumps

By on April 15, 2004

Green? The only thing green about the Quinnipiac’s campus is its grass.

The aesthetics of the campus may be hard to miss, but the receptacle containers are few and far between. There are no recycling bins, only trashcans, located in the Quadrangle, and the ones on the outer boundaries of the cafeteria are rarely used.

Yet, Quinnipiac University is considered a recycling community, and therefore, must abide by the Mandatory Recycling Act, which is mandated by the state of Connecticut. However, in some cases this is not so.

While the Quinnipiac’s dining services, Chartwells, may be a separate entity to the University, they must comply with the same laws as all other citizens in the state. In many cases, Chartwells does not. It is true that they donate leftover food to the Agape House, a New Haven based homeless education and religious facility, but this is where it stops.

Chartwells orders all their products from the Eastern Bag and Paper Group, with the exception of the Pepsi wax-coated cups and plastic cup clear lids, which are distributed from the Pepsi Company.

Leean Spalding, associate director of Dining Services, said that all cardboard, paper plates, Styrofoam trays, cans, bottles and plastic utensils are sent through the shredder and are compacted. But out of the aforementioned materials, most, if not all, can be recycled.

“It doesn’t get recycled at this point,” Spalding said. “It gets shredded, compacted and then thrown into the trash dumpsters. If the school wants it to be recycled, then it becomes a Facility issue.”

Keith Woodward, director of Facilities, said that Chartwells is a separate from the University, even though on the campus grounds, and therefore must adhere to the Mandatory Recycling Act and find a way to dispose and recycle their own garbage.

Still, while all of the products that are not recycled, they are still biodegradable.

“The reason we do the compacting is that it will be biodegradable a little faster,” Spalding said.

Spalding also stated that food waste goes through the same shredding process, but according to the College and University Recycling Program in Connecticut, “cafeteria food scraps and kitchen prep waste are recyclable through composting and/or collection for animal feed.”

But Spalding said that the issue of composting must still go through Facilities because it is a financial matter.

Woodward would not comment.

In trying to rectify this non-recycling situation, Spalding said that she would like to get together with Facilities to discuss the matter further. She also said that she hopes to get a committee with the school to work on recycling paper, plastic and other materials.

The following programs “DO” follow the recycling policy:

1) According to Charles Getchell, director of the Arnold Bernhard Library, the library uses two types of toner cartridges and since last year (7/1/03), they have purchased 101 and 40 respectively for a total of 141. One of the library’s staff members takes them and turns them into her son’s elementary school in East Haven, Getchell said.

The school participates in a recycling program and gets credit of some type for spent cartridges. The credit/money received goes toward buying things for the children and the school.If interested in donating cartridges, send them to: D.H. Ferrara Elementary, East Haven, CT, 468-3318, Computer Teacher/Coordinator Ms. Patty Gambardella.

2) The library printers are automatically set to duplex copy, which makes double-sided copies.

3) According to Kristen Brunson from the New Haven Register, they do recycle all newspapers that come back to their facility and they also print on recycled newsprint. According to a study done by the Newspaper Association of America, almost 78 percent of all old newspapers in the United States were recovered and recycled in 2001.

This represented more than 9 million tons of old newspapers out of a total supply of more than 11 million tons. The newspaper recycle rate hasTclimbed steadily each year since 1988 when the newspaper and newsprint industries, with the help of the communities, made recycling a priority.

Currently we are sending approx. 3,000 copies of the newspaper to Quinnipiac on a weekly basis.


About Kellie Gleeson