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Salem Launches New Sustainability Initiatives

Salem College faculty, staff and students will take part in new sustainability initiatives when dining services officially begin next week. In fact, Salem will be one of the first academic communities in the country to use the Eco-Clamshell, a reusable to-go food container. The Eco-Clamshell, which was developed by an...

Salem College faculty, staff and students will take part in new sustainability initiatives when dining services officially begin next week. In fact, Salem will be one of the first academic communities in the country to use the Eco-Clamshell, a reusable to-go food container.

The Eco-Clamshell, which was developed by an Eckerd College student using a grant from the Environmental Research and Education Foundation, is a teal-blue plastic container that can be reused and sanitized at temperatures reaching 180 degrees, thereby cutting down on plastic or Styrofoam to-go containers. Salem students will receive the Eco-Clamshell, fill it and return it later to the cafeteria for dishwashing and reuse. The containers will be theirs for the entire time they are at Salem.

Anna Gallimore, Salem director of administration, first saw the new container on TV this past spring. She contacted Aramark Corporation officials, who manage Salem’s dining services, and asked them to locate the container, which is manufactured in Texas by G.E.T. Enterprises. Then she, director of dining services Lesia Scott-Gregory and dean of students Krispin Barr worked together to tailor the program to Salem’s needs.

“Last year Salem College dining services used more than 20,000 Styrofoam to-go containers, all of which are currently in a landfill. When you realize that it takes up to 500 years for a Styrofoam cup to decompose, it just makes sense for colleges to take the lead in finding an alternative,” says Gallimore. “We are proud to be one of the first to promote sustainability in the college dining hall in this way. “

Other initiatives the Salem community will see upon their return to campus: fair-trade coffee at the Grille; local produce purchased through Fresh Point; sustainable seafood recommended by Monterey Bay Aquarium; recycling of used fryer oil; and no more trays, which will reduce food waste and water consumption.