Dining Services offers Styrofoam-alternative

Reusable plastic cups are now sold on campus in addition to Styrofoam cups on campus in an effort to improve the environment, said the general manager of TCU Dining Services. In response to suggestions from the AV Environmental Club and other student complaints, Dining Services has decided to cut down on Styrofoam cup consumption by offering a plastic cup as well, said Rick Flores, general manager of TCU Dining Services.

The purple plastic cups not only show off school spirit but are also reusable, Flores said, adding that he hopes the new cups will become a staple for students.

“This is a trial run, and if it is successful, we can take feedback from the students and work on getting a different container similar to a Nalgene bottle,” Flores said.

The cups fit in almost all car and bike cup holders and have rubber on the outside to prevent the run-off of condensation, Flores said.

A student must first purchase the plastic cup and beverage for $5, Flores said. Each refill that follows the initial purchase will cost 99 cents.

“Waste has increased at TCU and there is not a program for recycling Styrofoam, but these cups will give students a drink for a lower price, and they are helping the environment,” Flores said.

The main environmental problem with Styrofoam is that it is non-biodegradable, said Bethanne Edwards, senior environmental science major.

“Because Styrofoam is non-biodegradable, it sits in landfills and takes up space,” Edwards said.

Edwards is the president of the AV Environmental Club, a group that focuses on recycling and community clean-up. She said the club discussed the topic of on-campus Styrofoam use last semester as the club was getting started.

“It’s a pretty big deal they are taking action because it is a response to student’s voices,” Edwards said.

However, there are some concerns about using a reusable cup at the drink fountains, said Legia Abato, marketing manager for TCU Dining Services.

“Are students going to use it once and then forget it in their rooms?” Abato said.

Along with finding it hard to keep up with the same, reusable cup, some students said they will find it hard to quit using Styrofoam cups.

Rachel Newsom, a sophomore sociology major, said she believes more should be done in Dining Services’ focus to help the environment.

“I don’t think changing cups seems like that much,” Newsom said. “You think they would start with something more than cups, but at least it’s a step.”

Newsom said she won’t use the new cups because she frequently uses Styrofoam cups at school and even bought them for her off-campus house.

Kimberly Banzhaf, a junior environmental science major, said she thinks more can be done as well.

“No, I absolutely do not think TCU has taken enough action against the problems affecting the environment,” Banzhaf said.

Banzhaf said she does think new plastic cups will cut down on the use of Styrofoam on campus, which is the main goal associated with the plastic cup program.