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Green to go
Biodegradable serviceware debuts at Baker University Center

ATHENS, Ohio (Jan. 10, 2007) -- Next time you eat at Baker Center's food court, you are likely to walk away with corn and sugar cane on your tray.  We're not talking tacos and smoothies. We're talking plates, cups, forks, spoons and take-out containers. 

Photo by Rick FaticaBaker's packaging, which to casual observers looks like plastic, is actually a 100-percent biodegradable material derived from corn or potato starch called polylactic acid, or PLA. The plates and cups that look like paper are made from sugar cane fibers. These materials are renewable resources that compost - just like food and yard waste - making Baker's serviceware a friend to the environment.

"I have students come to me all the time complaining about packaging waste here at the university," said Sonia Marcus, Ohio University's resource conservation coordinator. "Now I can tell them we're making a switch to a greener option." 

After enjoying their meals, diners at the food court and Front Room will be directed to sort their waste into separate bins for "trash," "compost" and "cans/bottles." "Compost" includes serviceware, napkins and any food remaining on the tray. Beverage containers can continue to be recycled in bins marked "cans/bottles." 

Last year, a waste audit was performed by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources indicated that about 20 percent of the waste coming out of Ohio University dining halls is compostable. The biodegradable service ware project is the brainchild of university Chef Charles Moseley. 

"This project will significantly change the way major institutions think about trash," Moseley said. "Once again, Ohio University demonstrates its progressive, forward-thinking character and assumes a leadership role in our society. The impact of this commitment will extend far beyond the boundaries of our institution."

With success of the project, dining services plans to expand the use of the biodegradable serviceware to other campus eateries, including Grab 'N' Go outlets and Cafe Bibliotech at Alden Library.

The food court opened to the public Jan 2. More information is available at www.ohio.edu/conservation.

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Media Contact: Resource Conservation Coordinator Sonia Marcus, 740-593-0026 or marcuss@ohio.edu, or Media Relations Coordinator Jessica Stark, 740-597-2938 or starkj@ohio.edu

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