Campus implements new eco-friendly alternatives

Seline Guitierrez sips on reusable coffee cups while she does homework Photo credit: Ryan Basulto

Eco-friendly options have become more prominent on CSUN’s campus this year, from the CSUN Dining’s BYOB (bring your own bottle) campaign to Freudian Sip locations using all compostable cups and straws.

The California State University sustainability policy, set in 2014, was established with a goal to reduce landfill waste produced by 80 percent by 2020. This policy was established across all 23 CSU campuses.

Last year, the main focus for sustainability changes was the transformation of the Sierra Center, one of the many sources of food and snacks on the CSUN campus for students. The focus for the center is making it a zero-waste facility.

“The work we are doing at Sierra Center is laying the groundwork for the CSUN community,” said Susan Dickman, CSUN Dining program and marketing manager. “Collectively, we are working on a campus-wide zero waste plan. The plan covers ways to streamline our efforts to handle waste hauling, recycling, composting and promoting product reuse.”

The Sierra Center is paving the way for the rest of the campus to become a zero-waste campus. CSUN Dining works with facilities planning and the Institute for Sustainability and AS Sustainability.

Dickman said that this fall all of CSUN Dining locations, in an effort to encourage students to be part of the no-waste movement, will be selling reusable utensil kits and reusable straws that can even be purchased at the Matador Mercado.

CSUN dining is working closely to make this happen, and they have already incorporated paper straws instead of plastic ones. The newly-added Starbucks is also taking part by using only eco-friendly cups in style cups to reduce the amount of waste that regular plastic creates.

“When CSUN Dining began working with Starbucks to bring their We Proudly Serve (WPS) program to campus, CSUN Dining insisted on eco-friendly style cups from the start,” said Dickman.

Dickman further explained how the cups, lids and straws used in all Freudian Sip locations, whether serving Starbucks or Groundwork coffee, are compostable.

“I think the fact that the campus is trying to be more eco-friendly is a great way to start and encourage students to participate and be more conscious of the environment,” said 20-year-old CSUN student Ashley Torres.

The University Corporation also launched an initiative called Sustainability 2.0, replacing plates, cups and containers in CSUN dining facilities with eco-friendly and sustainable ones.

Sustainability and zero waste movements have gained more popularity with the newly added Sustainability Center, the new disposable paper products that are offered at the Sierra Center and in the coffee shops.

“I definitely feel like the recycling trashcans and the eco-friendly plates and cups can make a difference in our campus,” said Torres.