Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.
For years, Colorado State University has been known as one of the most sustainable college campuses in America. Composting, biking and recycling are only some of the many ways CSU helps reduce its carbon footprint.
While it’s true that CSU was the first university in the world to achieve a Platinum Rating by the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System, there is more CSU can do to offset its carbon emissions and reduce waste.
CSU stresses sustainability and environmental consciousness in many aspects and has a unique position as both a prominent research institution and public university.
Last week, students rallied at the Administration Building after Homecoming to demand CSU divest from fossil fuel companies. Companies such as Anadarko Petroleum and Noble Energy still contribute money to CSU, which is alarming coming from a research institution that prides itself on its environmental consciousness.
Universities across the U.S. are divesting from fossil fuels, including schools that are routinely recognized alongside CSU for their sustainable practices, such as Seattle University. Last year, the Board of Governors voted to completely divest from fossil fuels by 2023.
As an environmentally conscious school, it seems contrary for CSU to support companies that are actively working against its land-grant values. Promoting civic responsibility and being accountable are only some of the traits CSU seeks to emulate, which aren’t reflected in CSU’s continued investment in fossil fuels.
Investing in sustainable alternatives to plastic for campus restaurants and vendors could go a long way toward eliminating single-use plastic produced by CSU.
In order to work closer toward a zero-waste campus, CSU needs to invest more in sustainable alternatives to plastic. While the majority of Housing and Dining Services’ containers are compostable, single-use plastic is still used across campus.
Most significantly, restaurants in the Lory Student Center, as well as beverage vending machines around campus, still utilize single-use plastics.
Considering that the majority of coffee shops and dining centers on campus use compostable products, it’s surprising that vendors continue to use plastic to-go containers.
These containers create a significant portion of unrecyclable waste, including takeout cups, straws and plastic wrap that could otherwise be avoided by banning single-use plastics across the campus.
Replacing plastic soda bottles in vending machines with eco-friendly alternatives, such as aluminum cans, can also reduce plastic waste.
Plastics are often not recycled correctly, and nearly 80% of all plastic produced in the U.S. has ended up in landfills. Investing in sustainable alternatives to plastic for campus restaurants and vendors could go a long way toward eliminating single-use plastic produced by CSU.
It’s great that CSU continues to be one of the top schools for sustainability through many of its green initiatives. However, there is still more that the University can do.
Corinne Neustadter can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @CorinneN14.