In the main dining area of Slayter Union, one of the round tables is piled high with white ‘clamshells’ used to distribute meals from the market. Atop the pile is a green plastic version of the containers, better known as a greenie.

The purpose of this display in the market is to show the campus community how much waste is generated by only one student over the course of two semesters. This amount of containers is not only wasteful and harmful to the environment but also costly for Denison. In order to combat this, the school has implemented the use of greenies; reusable plastic containers that closely resemble the one-use white clam shells.

The idea to incorporate these greenies into the dining experience on campus is not one that was generated overnight. Director of Sustainability & Involvement on campus Jeremy King spoke about how and why the project was developed. “The Dining Committee and members of Green Team have been looking for ways to improve operations in Slayter for a number of years. I think we reached a point this year where these groups, Bon Appetit, and the Office of Sustainability were all on the same page at the same time and we saw a collective opportunity to bring back the greenies,” he said.

The hope of this project is to better sustainability on our campus. It is so hard for organizations that operate with to-go options to maintain systems beneficial to the environment. Jeremy spoke to the hopes he and others have in terms of the positive effects that will result from the new system.

“Slayter is a sustainability nightmare. Any to-go operation, regardless of where it is located, is a challenging place to incorporate sustainable practices. The more members of our community that adopt greenies, the less waste Slayter will generate. If we can get a better handle on waste from clamshells, we may be able to incorporate other sustainable solutions like adding composting and streamlining the collection of recyclables,” he said.  

As the rest of the semester comes to a close, be mindful of the waste you’re producing on a day to day basis. Try and take small steps to lessen your individual impact on the planet by opting for reusable containers. If you’re interested in trying a greenie, speak to a member of the dining staff. By being mindful as a campus community, we can take steps towards bettering the environment we create together.