Put A Spork in It!
It is time for a more sustainable campus! Products such as Sporks can be part of the solution to make OWU a more green college university.
Every year about 55% of 220 million tons of waste generated in the United States ends are taken to the landfill. Trash in the United States is not decreasing, and every year more and more garbage is adding up and taking over our world, landfills, and oceans. A college campus is the prime location to propose change and to encourage small changes in a persons every day life that can add up and make a difference. Sustainable and reusable containers and utensils at Ohio Wesleyan has been a growing trend and I wanted to be part of this.
Journey to Accomplishing Spork Project
This was the first attempt to bring Sporks to campus. I thought that Sporks would be a new trendy way to get students to recognize their eating habits with all of the utensils they throw away after each meal. This of course would get them thinking about how many containers they throw away as well, which may lead to a successful switch to reusable conainters in the future. But first I wanted to start with Sporks.
I thought that implementing a Spork program at OWU would be a closer and more realistic goal to reducing our overall waste on campus. The mechanics of the program would also include active participation among students and staff. Students/staff would make a one time Spork purchase with the intent of using it for every to-go meal.
The ultimate goal of this project was to replace all silverware and plastic utensils in the Hamwill dining facilities as well as the 9 other food cart locations on campus. I wanted to create a program that could be continued on OWU’s campus, to raise awareness of the amount of waste we use, and ultimately reduce the amount of waste coming from OWU including recyclable and non-recyclable products.
Day of the Event
During the reusable themed Friday of Green Week at the tables in Hamwill, I had a sign with a basic outline on what to do and how to properly take care of a spork (there is no difficult way, but people don’t realize this immediately). Since the Sporks were handed out earlier in the week, it worked out where people were able to refer to my display and easily remember the three steps to successfully use a spork: Use it (of course), lick it clean (if you’re in a hurry) or wash it, stow it and use it for later. This seemed so rudimentary, but it seemed necessary for people who were used to throwing everything away. My goal for the day was just to bring awareness to people as to how much they throw away each day and how by changing just one small thing every day can really add up and make differenc for our environment.
For Next Time
This project is not even close to being over. My advice for prospective people interested in finishing this project include:
- Conduct a campus wide servey to identify the percentage of people who are willing to participate (buy a spork)
- If the funding becomes available next year for Sporks, try them out in a few locations around campus and see how many are bought and sold
- Look at more campuses that are currently or trying to do the same thing- University of Vermont is a great example, but try and find more. See what works and doesn’t work!
- Educate people more. This was not my initial area of focus because I was trying to decide which project I wanted to do and where the funding would come from. Use statistics and real life examples of how garbage is effecting our Earth and every day living.
- Sell the Sporks at Thomson
- Use quality Sporks—not plastic breakable ones
Erica Spiegel: Erica.Spiegel@uvm.edu
Gene Castelli: Gene.Castelli@compass-usa.com
John Krygier: firstname.lastname@example.org