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In an effort to reduce plastic waste on campus, Undergraduate Student Government’s Sustainability Committee will give away more than 300 sets of bamboo cutlery at the Ohio Union this week.
“Plastic? Fork It Over!” will run Wednesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day as a way to educate students about how much waste they produce and to help reduce campus dependence on disposable utensils.
“Plastic silverware can’t be recycled in Columbus or at OSU,” said Tyler Hoerst, deputy director of the committee and a fourth-year in environment, economy, development and sustainability. “We want everyone to be aware of what their waste is, (because) it goes somewhere, and not everyone thinks about it.”
That “somewhere” is a landfill, where plastic utensils can sit for nearly 50 years before completely biodegrading, releasing methane in the process. Methane is the second-most prevalent greenhouse gas in the atmosphere and accelerates Earth’s warming 25 times faster than carbon dioxide because it traps more ultraviolet radiation, according to the EPA website.
Additionally, sometimes throwing disposable cutlery in the recycling bin can lead to even more waste in landfills if too many nonrecyclable materials enter the mix and render the entire bin’s contents unusable.
Hoerst said he and other volunteers hope to raise awareness about the impacts of plastic waste on the environment and how students can be more environmentally friendly.
The reusable cutlery is composed of sustainably sourced bamboo, meaning it’s made from a renewable resource and there aren’t the same harmful chemicals in the plastic utensils that would otherwise go in your mouth, according to To-Go Ware’s website. Each set of To-Go Ware comes with a colorful carrying case made out of recycled plastic bottles, which