Purdue dumps plastic straws, switches to paper


Purdue Dining and Catering completed a transition to help reduce plastic waste in their facilities.

Instead of plastic straws, dining services are now offer paper alternatives to help reduce the amount of plastic waste in their residential and retail outlets. 

Officials estimate 650,000 plastic straws were used in campus dining and retail locations last year. Dining & Catering estimates they serve around 21,000 students per day. 

“The transition to paper straws represents our commitment to sustainability and follows trends we are seeing worldwide,” Director of Retail Dining Tom Coleman said. “Replacing plastic straws with paper reduces environmental risk with a biodegradable product. The local impact of this transition will help reduce unnecessary waste on campus.”

The change aligns Dining & Catering with a local movement to reduce the use of plastic straws in West Lafayette. West Lafayette’s city council recently voted unanimously in favor of a resolution that would urge commercial and educational establishments to reduce the use of plastic straws and prevent plastic straws from being distributed at city facilities.

Dining & Catering is additionally bringing awareness to the reduction of straw waste through the “Make This Your Last Straw” campaign, which encourages customers to avoid using a straw.

Several other Dining and Catering initiatives include a reusable cup program, biodiesel production from fryer oil and grease products, zero-waste events, recycling programs and the use of recycled take-out containers.

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