The Daily Tar Heel

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Thursday August 5th

CDS took disposable, hot beverage cups out of dining halls for sustainability

Photo of beverage areas in Lenoir Dining Hall without disposable, hot-beverage cups.
Buy Photos Photo of beverage areas in Lenoir Dining Hall without disposable, hot-beverage cups.

Carolina Dining Services has created a new sustainability initiative to contribute to responsible waste practices across campus. 

The new program – which includes removing disposable, hot beverage cups typically used for coffee – has been in effect as of Sept. 9 in both Top of Lenoir and Chase Hall. 

“Students may bring any reusable cup to the dining halls to get their drinks to go,” Scott Myers, director of Auxiliary Services for Campus Enterprises, said in an email. “By eliminating paper cups in these two dining halls, we estimate we will prevent 500,000 cups from being thrown out every year.”

Myers said all students with a meal plan were provided a free, reusable to-go cup for carry-out beverages in early September to facilitate the change. Coffee mugs and standard glasses, however, are still provided within both dining halls. 

Although CDS is attempting to minimize its environmental footprint on campus with this program, other dining facilities continue to provide disposable beverage cups.

The new initiative, however, does not impact cold beverages. Compostable cups will still be provided for students planning to consume cold beverages beyond the dining halls. 

The elimination of paper coffee cups is not the only change CDS plans to make this academic year. 

CDS is continuing to work on expanding Chase Hall by opening new seating areas and new food stations. The project includes creating a 5,000-square-foot outdoor dining area that will include 115 seats. 

Although the project is expected to be completed in October, the plans were introduced about four years ago. The Student Dining Board, a student group that meets weekly to provide feedback on dining hall services, started reviewing the plans a year after they were first introduced. 

In addition to creating more space in Chase, CDS also plans on increasing its menu options by including more allergen-free stations for its students. 

Some students on campus said they are satisfied with the emphasis CDS placed on sustainability efforts. 

“It’s not something that was on my radar, beforehand, like ‘Oh, they need to change this,’ but the fact that they’re aware of these things and made the change is a good thing, a good reflection on the program” Brandon Koluch, a junior majoring in public policy and communication studies, said. 

Reo Aono, a sophomore majoring in global studies, said he thinks the new initiative is a step in the right direction in terms of increasing sustainability efforts. 

“I don’t have strong opinions about it but as I said, it’s really great to look after the environment,” Aono said. “Taking those small steps is really important to making bigger changes.”

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