By Owen Wong ’23
With the Student Climate Coalition’s recent Town Hall and Zero Waste campaign, which pushed for awareness of waste within our community, came the SCC’s Free Refill stickers, which allow students to get free refills from the Corral for the remainder of the school year. But how have these stickers made an impact around campus?
“Our hope was to encourage students to attend the town hall by providing some sort of incentive so that we could get them into a place where they would come and learn and talk about the trash system on campus,” said Mr. Cooper Davis ’10.
According to Mr. Davis, the main focus of the stickers was to encourage both involvement and engagement with the issue, and as a double positive cut down on one-time cup use in the Corral.
“Students who may have otherwise been using a new cup, lid and straw every day are now just filling up their bottle, ideally reducing the total amount of trash we are producing on campus,” Mr. Davis said.
Pertaining to the beverages themselves, whether they are being served at a restaurant or on campus, the majority of the incurred cost comes with the cups themselves. These soft drinks really only cost a couple of pennies.
Mr. Davis said, “The school was willing to partner with us to kind of eliminate that cost, in hope of encouraging students to reduce their waste.”
Ms. Missy Grams, director of Facilities and Food Services, talked about her involvement with the Student Climate Coalition and the Corral.
“I meet with Mr. Davis every other week, and we have been talking about a way, for a while, to do refills in the kitchen, and stop wasting straws, lids, and cups,” said Ms. Grams
After touring ASU’s zero-waste campus, both Ms. Grams and the SCC said they were inspired to make some positive changes to Brophy’s campus. One of these changes includes eliminating the cups that go to waste in the kitchen. Soon, plates and flatware will be eliminated, starting next fall.
“The supply chain has been crazy this year, we can’t get things as readily as we have been able to, and what we can get is expensive. Cups and lids are no exception, they have been sporadic and sometimes we have a hard time finding the product,” Ms. Grams said.
She mentioned that, if everyone uses their own containers for drinks, they can incentivize a free refill so that they don’t have to purchase those waste products.
Ms. Grams said, “It’s a win for everyone, for the environment, for the school cost-wise, and for the students cost-wise to get free refills.”
Ms. Holly Vaughan was hired as kitchen manager over the winter break. As a food service manager, she has been involved in sustainable and earth-friendly practices since 2005, when she worked in retail food service.
“I have always been strongly in support of less waste in food service and am on board 100 percent for all we can do to lighten the impact Brophy has on the environment,” said Ms. Vaughan
She described how over 1,400 students alone can make a big impact on the way waste flows by just using reusable bottles for drinks. 1,000 fewer plastic cups in the waste flow for 5 days a week brings waste down by 5,000 fewer cups a week.
Regarding the free refills, the only immediate problems that they have run into in the kitchen have been with ice and beverage spillage with containers with smaller openings.
Ms. Vaughan stated that “Moving forward, we are hoping to move into composting kitchen waste and using only compostable serving containers for food service. But every day, from today on, everyone can make a difference, just bringing a reusable container for your beverage is a start, I strongly encourage everyone to drink from a reusable container.”