PMU currently recycles the following material: newspaper, office paper, mixed paper, magazines, junk mail, plastic bottles, steel and aluminum cans, paperboard boxes, cardboard boxes, used pens and batteries. This material is collected in the Union Commons area, Union Rack and Roll, Catering spaces (STEW/PMU), and Beverage sales. Last known numbers were ½ ton of paper, a ton of cardboard, and over ¾ ton of plastic, glass and steel on a monthly basis.
Current practices in our facilities include the use of paper products (towels) that are made of recycled materials. We utilize some green cleaning chemicals that use peroxide to clean and use natural products such as vinegar versus harsh cleaning products. The Purdue Memorial Union also uses an environmentally friendly floor scrubber and carpet cleaner. Our equipment uses 70–80% less water and 90% less detergent and eliminates the use for general purpose cleaners.
Our current Sustainability Workgroup has overseen the implementation of several programs over the last two years including participation in Green Week and Recyclemania, collection of pre- and post-consumer food waste to be converted into energy at local treatment facilities, increased awareness of the items that can be recycled throughout the building and best use office practices to encourage employees to recycle items with less going to the landfill.
As you are aware we have recently introduced plastic and aluminum recycling program to the Union to add to our current process of recycling office paper products, certain bottled material, newspapers and corrugated materials. Included in this were plastic milk containers; used in Starbucks™ and other areas that provide coffee drinks as part of their core menu, food containers such as aluminum #10 cans resultant from food prep, and the bottled ketchup containers used in Pappy's.
This past year in a move towards reaching an overarching goal of being more environmentally friendly we replaced a paper "wax" water cup with a corn based product. In the last 10-months we have gone through over 20,000 of these cups derived from 100 percent renewable resources.
We moved our general napkin set from a bleached napkin to an unbleached napkin minimizing the toxic impact to the environment. We go through thousands of these napkins.
We offer a plastic reuse mug for those customers wanting to use something that is not considered disposable when purchasing a beverage. We also support good recycling practices at all of our satellite locations across campus.
We utilize a re-usable plate unless a customer declines, at which point we use butcher paper to wrap the finished product.
The package that we use for our core menu item; the flatbread sandwich, is made from recycled paperboard which is endorsed by the Green Restaurant Association (http://www.dinegreen.com/). As an option to this we also offer to our guest the sandwich wrapped in butcher paper. For our Flatbread "melts", we use a very sleek corrugated package. Recently we implemented even a third option of using a plastic plated re-use tray considered wash ware.
For our main entree we use a Chinet® plate which is composed 100 percent post-industrial recycled fiber and certified to be biodegradable. The floor in Lemongrass is made from bamboo which is very sustainable when compared with a hardwood floor.
Yes we do use some heavy plastics in this operation. This is a corporate brand partner of ours, therefore we are at the mercy of using their specified disposable program. We have reached out to this company sharing this view.
This program is fully supported by paper plates as well as paper grab-n-go containers that can be recycled.
Our organic coffee program offers a cup titled ecotainer™ that is made from 100% renewable resources.
Urban Market features a Rehydration Station where guests can refill their water bottle for a minimal fee. They also sell a reusable bottle that can be used with the rehydration station for $9.95 for unlimited refills. In this market you will find an inventory of products that are organic and/or produced in environments that promote sustainability.
The cereal bowl used at Loops is made of recyclable paper.
We use a corrugated material made of recycled product, manufactured by Huhtamaki, carrying the same properties as mentioned above.