Environmental Wellness is the ability to recognize our own responsibility for the quality of the air, the water and the land that surrounds us. The ability to make a positive impact on the quality of our environment, be it our homes, our communities or our planet, contributes to our Environmental Wellness.
Salem College is at the forefront of institutions when it comes to implementing sustainability initiatives that impact the environmental wellness of the entire campus.
Salem College faculty, staff and students were one of the first academic communities in the country to begin using the Eco-Clamshell, a reusable to-go food container, in fall 2008.
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 receive the Eco-Clamshell, fill it and return it later to the cafeteria for dishwashing and reuse.
“In 2007 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 Anna Gallimore, director of administration. “We were proud to be one of the first to promote sustainability in the college dining hall in this way.”
Other initiatives the Salem community sees every day in the refectory are:
- fair-trade coffee at the Grille
- local produce purchased through Fresh Point
- sustainable seafood recommended by Monterey Bay Aquarium
- recycling of used fryer oil
- no more trays, which will reduce food waste and water consumption.