Students looking to eat on-the-go no longer have to feel guilty about creating non-biodegradable waste. With the first day of sales beginning during the lunch period of Cabrini Day, students are now able to purchase reusable “clam” containers.
The containers cost $5 each and are available for purchase in the Wolfington Center.
According to the products’ website, The 3-compartment “eco-takeout” containers are not only made from a sturdy, recyclable thermoplastic, but they are also leak-resistant and dishwasher safe.
Currently, the clam containers offered by Cav’s Corner are made of Styrofoam, a single-use, non-recyclable, and non-biodegradable material. This conflicted many environmentally-conscious students as they were forced to choose between eating and being sustainable.
“The goal is for the school to distribute one to every student,” Chardanay White, the original advocate for the reusable containers, said.
White is a senior history and political science double major with a minor in black studies. When White transferred to Cabrini her junior year, she took notice that the university was not taking the same proactive measures to be eco-friendly as her previous school. This inspired her to work with Wolfington Center Director Ray Ward to revive the Cabrini Green Team. Her affiliation with both Green Team and Wolfington Center magnified her influence on the introduction of the new containers.
“I got a petition signed by over 100 students and I brought that to my first meeting with [Dean of Students] Stephen Rupprecht,” White said. “By the time I met with [Sodexo General Manager] Tracy Ells, she didn’t even need to see the petition because she had already heard about it and I guess that was enough. She said we could totally do it, it was just a question of affordability.”
“There was a student initiative,” Ward said. “The Green Team came together to make this happen and Sodexo was really cooperative.”
To remain compliant to Sodexo’s health regulations, the Chefs at Cav’s Corner are only permitted to serve food into clean, “non-contaminated” containers. Sodexo asks that after each use, students bring their containers to Cav’s Corner to be collected and swapped for a container that has been properly sanitized.
According to Ward, roughly 25 containers have been sold, meaning that there are currently 50 containers in circulation to account for the boxes being cleaned and swapped. Of the original order of 200, 100 containers are still available for purchase.
“Our goal would be for everybody to use these who does any kind of takeout,” Ward said. “If by the end of the year we were able to sell out our hundred and had to order another hundred that’s a good starting point. Beyond that, if we could have up to 500 in circulation, that’d be incredible.”
White’s vision is for the boxes to become widespread and integrated into students’ daily lives. She wants the university to eventually begin the practice of distributing containers to every incoming student and only charge for replacements if the container gets lost or damaged.
“The Wolfington Center bought the original boxes and that’s why they’re five dollars because it came out of their budget,” White said. “We’re currently trying to make it so the school upfronts a certain amount of money so that every student is able to receive one… If they did that they’d be able to phase out Styrofoam completely.”