Abigail Lowrie, Layout Manager
Last month, Bon Appetit posted flyers stating that customers can receive a 25 cent discount off their drink purchase by bringing their own cup, hoping to encourage students to opt for reusable options. Operations Manager, Kerri Mahoney, has implemented changes from the Bon Appetit Management Company and bringing them to Saint Martin’s, for both Saint Gertrude’s Café and the Monk’s Bean. With one of Bon App’s core values being sustainability, and Thurston County no longer accepting compost from SMU, the decision to offer a discount was easy. The discount rate is a company standard, and was not decided on by SMU.
To promote sustainable living practices, some universities sell reusable cups, silverware, and Tupperware for students to purchase for use in the cafeterias for their to-go food. Bon App has been considering doing this also to help reduce waste from to-go boxes and silverware. Mahoney has also been discussing the possibility of having a promotional sale of reusable cups, including a punch card with a certain number of drinks attached to it offered at a discounted rate. She is hoping to start enacting some of these practices by the fall semester.
Since it is mostly faculty and staff who bring reusable cups, Bon App is hoping to increase the participation of students through social media. They are working to reduce waste in any way that they can and have been in contact with Kelly Quiroz, president of the Sustainability Club on campus, to find a medium between Bon App and students. Quiroz and Mahoney met on Feb. 27 to partner at a Thurston County town hall meeting. Their goals are to bring up concerns about sustainability with the community, encourage the county to continue accepting compost from Saint Martin’s, and update their composting facilities to manage growing compost efforts in the community.
While the lack of composting options is a concern for Bon App and Saint Martin’s, they are finding ways to reduce waste around campus by using their community resources. For example, food scraps are given to Brother Edmond to be used as feed in the campus chicken houses. Some of the gardening clubs on campus also use the used coffee grinds from the Monk’s Bean and the Café coffee stand in their soil to help promote healthy crop growth.
Bon Appetit has core values that include sustainability, scratch-made food, and sourcing from local companies and farms. Each year, they do a “Eat Local Challenge” where everything sold is to be prepared in house and sourced from within a 50-mile radius. Part of this includes the FF stickers on some meal options signifying that the meal has been sourced “farm to fork.”
The café is working hard to reduce their waste. The first step has been to offer reusable bags for purchase in the Parsons store to encourage students to take small steps to more sustainable actions and to encourage them to continue living a sustainable lifestyle. Their next step is to include reusable straw options for students to purchase at the Parsons store. The good news is even if you do not have a reusable cup option when you purchase a cup of coffee, all the to-go item containers can be composted and will break down over time. This includes coffee cups, lids, sleeves, soup containers and lids, silverware, and the to-go boxes for entrees.