Buffalo, NY, April 19, 2016: Members of the University at Buffalo Student Environment Network, the Professional Staff Senate and the Faculty Senate are working together to encourage vendors in the UB Commons to eliminate single-use expanded polystyrene foam containers. To coincide with Earth Week, volunteers from the Greening the Commons initiative will begin to hand out flyers outside of the Commons. The flyers place vendors on either the Green List — those who are not using expanded polystyrene foam — or the Red List — vendors that have not yet eliminated the harmful material. Customers are encouraged to support Green List vendors, and to leave a signed statement of concern with Red List vendors.
Expanded polystyrene foam, also known by the brand name Styrofoam, is no longer used in food service areas managed by UB. The Commons, however, is a privately managed property, leased by First Amherst Development, and its vendors are not subject to the policies of the university.
Recently, the UB Professional Staff Senate and Faculty Senate unanimously passed resolutions calling for vendors and management of UB Commons to eliminate the use of expanded polystyrene foam and to provide recycling to customers. The resolution encourages 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.
Members of the UB community have expressed their concern that most Commons vendors continue to package food in a potentially harmful material which is typically not recyclable. Styrofoam is a significant pollutant, taking decades to decompose in landfills. Styrene can leach from Styrofoam into hot and acidic foods and beverages. An increasing number of municipalities nationwide have banned the material.
> Download the flyer (1.2MB PDF)