As I read the recent article about sustainability at Dixie State University, I couldn’t help but think about the University’s use of styrofoam.
While walking through campus, I notice people drinking from styrofoam soda cups emblazoned with Dixie State’s logo. Later, those same cups sit in a trash can and wait for someone to take them away.
As more and more people buy their sodas from The Market, Stacks, and Infusion, more and more styrofoam clogs our landfill.
Tracey O’Kelly, chair of the Sustainability Committee, said, “[Styrofoam cups] do not break down in the environment… [and] will be here forever polluting our environment.”
Because styrofoam can take billions of years to decompose, prolonged utilization of the cups can negatively impact our landfills, leading to disposal problems in the future. Recycling seems like a magic way to make the cups vanish, but we cannot do it cheaply. Recycling styrofoam takes time, energy, and money, making it environmentally taxing and expensive. Though cheap to produce and buy, styrofoam consists of petroleum byproducts, not renewable resources, which further stresses our environment and the future.
Dixie State cannot continue to use styrofoam cups on campus and refuse to look to the future while ignoring the consequences. Instead of adding to the disposal problem, Dixie should switch to a more recyclable option like plastic. However, to truly further sustainability, the University should emphasize the available reusable cups and publicize the discount available for those who use reusable cups as an incentive to waste less.
Salt Lake City