Trashing the trays is just the beginning

People are already saying goodbye to trays and plastic bags as Ball State is in the process of removing all tray and plastic bag options from dining.  

The new reusable dining bags are just one of many ideas that Ball State is implementing to become a carbon-neutral campus by the year 2030. New, reusable bags are being phased in.  They are made from recycled plastic bottles. Ball State felt that it was important to choose a reusable bag that features sustainable qualities.

“We’ve received really positive feedback about the bags, and we see them being carried in and out of Dining regularly, which is encouraging,”. Suzanne Clem, marketing coordinator for Ball State Dining, said. “Our goal in providing complimentary bags at the start of school to everyone coming through our doors was to make it as easy as possible for students and staff to start using them in place of disposable bags and trays.”

These bags are still available for purchase, but will cost one dollar. Students, faculty and staff can purchase these bags up at any a la carte dining location on campus. They can be found alongside any display case of reusable drink containers, which can be filled with coffee or fountain drinks for 80 cents.

Clem says, many students support the transition to recyclable bags.  “Based on our departmental sustainability goals and feedback from students who support sustainability in many facets of dining, we’ve decided this was the right time to start moving toward trayless dining and reducing our dependence on plastic bags,” Clem said. 

Eliminating both the plastic bags and the use of trays will help reduce the amount of water and prevent a large amount of plastic from entering the campus waste system. “We don’t want students to worry,” Clem said. “We want to do everything we can to make it a smooth transition.” 

It is recommended that students bring the bags back to dining for each meal.

“I tend not to see people using these bags around campus, it’s easy to fold them up so you can put them in your backpack,” Emma Fulkerson, a Ball State sophomore said. “I think the problem is that most people don’t remember to get them out.”

Ball State’s goal is to have only reusable bags by next semester. Students, faculty, and staff will be notified in advance so they have time to get used to carrying a reusable bag before all the trays and plastic bag are removed. 



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