Sustainability Practices at Caltech
Caltech Dining Services turned its attention to minimizing their carbon footprint shortly after the arrival of Peter Daily, in 2006, as the new Senior Director. Initially, biodegradable products were not available through local vendors and were ordered through internet sources. A vendor, Sysco of Los Angeles, has since begun to sell "green" products to Caltech as well as other local establishments. Caltech Dining Services is a leader in this effort.
Caltech Dining Service's is involved in finding, or compelling the opening of, a commercial compost facility. With such a large amount of material that can be converted to compost, it will be necessary to find a place larger than any currently available to Caltech. It is interesting and important to note, all our current "green" materials will biodegrade in any land-fill, but they will convert to compost quicker (most products in 60 days) in a commercial composting facility.
The following is a list of the Sustainability Practices which Caltech Dining Services (CDS) has enacted:
- CDS has replaced Styrofoam to-go containers with containers made of a 96% natural fiber, water and biodegradable mixture. The same material is used in the "paper" plates which replaced the plastic disposable plates.
- Clear plastic to-go containers have been replaced with 100% biodegradable corn containers.
- Paper napkins have been replaced with non-bleached 100% recycled paper napkins.
- The Convenience Store's plastic bags have been replaced with 100% biodegradable corn bags.
- Paper and foam soda cups have been replaced with biodegradable corn cups.
- Coffee cups and soup containers are made from 100% biodegradable paper. Lids for these containers are 100% biodegradable corn.
- Coffee insulators ("java jackets") are 100% biodegradable sugar cane material.
- Plastic cutlery has been replaced with 100% biodegradable potato composite cutlery with a 200°F tolerance.
- Plastic trash bags have been replaced with 100% biodegradable corn garbage bags.
- A future plan is to begin purchasing items such as salad dressing in bags rather than plastic bottles. Currently we purchase our trans-fat-free fry oil in bags as opposed to the previously used plastic tubs.
- Another strategy employed by Caltech Dining Services is selling re-usable coffee mugs. These mugs can be refilled at a discounted price to encourage customers to use a washable mug instead of non-sustainable cups.
Following are comments on the product lines Caltech Dining Services is currently using:
- Corn cups are the future of the industry and help your business differentiate itself from every other company out there. Show your concern for the environment with these 100% biodegradable cups. If you dispose of them in a commercial compost facility, they will biodegrade in 45 days.
- Our biodegradable hot cups are the perfect choice for all your hot beverage needs. Made with a PLA coating on the inside that is completely heat-stable, these cups will fully compost under commercial composting conditions in about 60 days.