UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- This fall, Penn State Campus Dining will begin collecting polystyrene and working with the Office of Physical Plant (OPP), the Campus Sustainability Office and Dart Container Corporation to have it recycled into reusable products. This initiative is part of Penn State's sustainability strategy which you can learn more about at www.green.psu.edu.
Students and other diners are encouraged to place polystyrene bowls, plates and to-go boxes in the correct receptacle. New bins will be placed next to recycling areas in the dining commons, HUB Dining locations, Otto’s Cafe, Blue Chip Bistro, MacKinnon’s Café and Sidebar Café. Polystyrene products have a #6 printed on them.
Campus Dining is working with Dart Container Corporation of Lancaster, Pa. Once the polystyrene products are collected, they are transported to OPP's recycling center and condensed. Dart picks up what are small plastic pellets and drives them back to its headquarters to be recycled. The plastic can be used to make new products, like rulers, molding and picture frames.
Campus Dining wants to make recycling as easy as possible for its guests. Educational signage and tables will be placed throughout the dining commons and HUB Dining locations to remind students what polystyrene is and where it should be put to keep it from going to the landfill.
Polystyrene joins metal cans, plastic and glass bottles, newspaper, office paper, cardboard and plastic film on the list of items Campus Dining recycles, but that is just one aspect of the unit's environmental initiatives.
Campus Dining uses napkins made from 100 percent recycled fiber. It composts the napkins and kitchen scraps to enhance soil that is used by OPP in landscaping projects throughout campus. OPP and the College of Agricultural Sciences also convert used cooking oil from the dining commons and HUB Dining in its biodiesel conversion program and use it in vehicles. Campus Dining makes an effort to purchase from local and state vendors and provides incentives for guests who use refillable mugs and bottles.
More information about Campus Dining's environmental initiatives is available on its environmental Web page.