The University of Maryland Dining Services secured a $150,000 grant from The Office of Sustainability, awarded at the annual UMD Earth Day Festival. The grant is intended to facilitate plastic waste reduction on campus. This is the largest single grant awarded by the University Sustainability Fund.
The Sustainability Fund Review Committee of students and the Sustainability Council grant will enable Dining Services to replace 1.3 million plastic bags, utensils and straws in cafes and shops with compostable or recyclable alternatives. This effort supports that of the Ocean Friendly Campus initiative. Dining Services also aims to reduce the number of paper bags used on campus by providing one complimentary reusable bag for every resident student, using the grant.
“By making changes to our resident dining model, we have already been able to remove over 6 million pieces of disposable products from the resident dining waste stream every year,” said Colleen Wright-Riva, director of Dining Services. “Students are eager for the next step, and this grant will enable us to extend our plastic reduction efforts to include retail outlets: the cafes and convenience shops. Using this generous grant, and partnering closely with the SGA and RHA, we will help bring about an impactful decrease in the amount of disposable plastic used on this campus.”
This year’s grants also support 14 other projects, including one for three new episodes of the digital video series “Terps vs. Pros Sustainable Food Challenge,” created by students in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.