Time for the Cap Bar to go green

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The Cap Bar menu offers a wide variety of options, including everything from mochas to chai tea lattes to fresh pastries. Photo by Francesca Norman.

Aramark has done well in its effort to reduce the University of Dallas’ carbon footprint. Now it’s time to go one step further and reward students rather than punishing them for bringing reusable mugs to the Cap Bar.  

Students may have noticed that, throughout the last semester, a few changes were made in the Cafe. Straws were suddenly nowhere to be found, and most recently, the single-use silverware is now made of compostable materials.

Though these measures may seem small, they reduce unnecessary waste in notable ways and make us all better stewards of the world we inhabit.

It is very encouraging to see Aramark taking such good, common-sense measures to better reflect who we ought to be as a community in relationship to our ecosystem.  

However, there are additional and more straightforward measures that can be taken in our community to positively impact our environment.

A sensible change would be to offer students a small discount for bringing their own mugs to the Cap Bar, which currently uses styrofoam cups, as opposed to punishing their customers for bringing their own reusable mugs.

This move would be in keeping with Aramark’s latest decisions and would further demonstrate that the University of Dallas gives its business to a company that is dedicated to bettering the environment.

Currently, Cap Bar workers are supposed to charge their customers one dollar more for all of their beverages if they bring their own mugs.

Most coffee shops, including Starbucks, offer a discount to their customers who bring their own reusable vessels; why, then, does the Cap Bar do the opposite and punish its customers for being environmentally-minded?

It only makes sense to offer discounts to those who bring their own mugs. Cap Bar workers are perfectly able to serve proper portions according to the allocated amounts of any sized beverage vessel. The fact that a customer brings a large mug does not necessitate the filling of that mug to the brim.

It’s simply a matter of giving the customers the amount that they order, whether it be small, large or extra-large.

Aside from the fact that more customers bringing their own mugs would save Aramark money on purchasing cups and lids, it would also decrease the university’s negative environmental impact.

According to a 2015 BBC article, Americans throw away over 25 billion styrofoam coffee cups every single year.

Styrofoam is often single-use, but its effects have long term consequences on our environment and health. According to a Washington University study, styrofoam takes more than 500 years to decompose and produces all sorts of toxins in the process that easily seep into water tables and nearby environments. Additionally, it is not recyclable in any practical way.

In fact, Groundswell, a nonprofit devoted to building solar communities, found that the substance is so harmful and polluting that nearly a dozen major cities across the U.S. have either partially or completely banned its use, citing public health concerns.

The UD community is taking steps in the right direction where our environmental decisions are concerned. The aforementioned changes in the Cafe, the increased amounts of recycling bins on campus and the heightened utilization of online sources like Brightspace instead of thick course packets are all wonderful examples of progression.

Though these are steps in the right direction, there is more to be done.

We can petition Aramark to stop penalizing, and begin to reward, customers who go to the trouble to use a clean, reusable mug instead of their foam cups.

We can contact Amanda Heinzler, the committee chair of the Student Government (SG) Dining Services Committee, attend their committee meetings and leave comments on the SG website and Student Concerns table.

We in the UD community have no reason to fail to be good stewards of our environment. We are an example of our surrounding culture in many ways. Let’s seal the deal.

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