Greening the Commons

Recently the UB Professional Staff Senate and Faculty Senate unanimounsly passed the below resolution, supporting the Student Environmental Network in their campaign to eliminate single-use expand polystyrene foam (also known as Styrofoam) containers from the UB Commons.  The resolution calls for vendors and management of UB Commons to eliminate the use of Styrofoam and to provide recycling to customers.

Those UB Commons vendors that are NOT using Styrofoam can be found on The Green List. Vendors who continue to use Styrofoam remain on The Red List. We encourage students, staff and faculty to voice their concerns to UB Commons vendors that their food be served in safe and compostable or recyclable containers, and to patronize and promote those vendors who do not use Styrofoam.

Note that some of the “Whereas” text below has been edited for clarity, and differs slightly from the versions passed by the two Senates. The “Resolved” clauses have not been changed.

Resolution on Greening the Commons

WHEREAS, expanded polystyrene foam (also known by the trade name Styrofoam)  is typically not recycled, takes decades or longer to decompose in landfills, and is a significant pollutant of urban areas, oceans, bays, and other water sources; and

WHEREAS, styrene is a potentially harmful substance that can leach from polystyrene foam containers into very hot and acidic food and beverages; and

WHEREAS, single-use expanded polystyrene foam containers and packing materials are banned in an increasing number of cities and institutions concerned with the health and safety of people and the environment; and

WHEREAS, the majority of vendors within UB Commons continue to provide their products to customers in single-use polystyrene foam containers; and

WHEREAS, First Amherst Development, property manager of the UB Commons, does not provide recycling (other than cardboard) for vendors and customers; and

WHEREAS, the University at Buffalo takes pride in being a sustainability leader through zero- waste food service and the use of compostable and recyclable implements; and

WHEREAS, UB Commons is not governed by the policies of UB but nonetheless affects the perception of our campus by faculty, staff, students and visitors; and

WHEREAS, a coalition of concerned students, staff and faculty have repeatedly contacted the vendors and management of UB Commons with concerns about polystyrene and recycling to no avail.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT

RESOLVED, that until the vendors and management of UB Commons eliminate the use of single-use polystyrene foam containers and provide recycling to customers, the Professional Staff Senate and Faculty Senate will join with the Environmental Network and the Students for Sustainability Council in an information campaign highlighting the unsustainable practices in UB Commons; and be it further

RESOLVED, the Professional Staff Senate and Faculty Senate strongly encourage staff, faculty and students to voice their concerns to UB Commons vendors that their food be served in safe and compostable or recyclable containers; and be it further

RESOLVED, the Professional Staff Senate and Faculty Senate encourage staff, faculty and students to patronize and promote those vendors who have eliminated single-use polystyrene foam containers and who provide recycling to their customers.