Sodexo moves to sustainable options

Following the many precautions of COVID-19, Sodexo and the dining services implemented a new form of carry-out containers for meals. 

Instead of the green box, which was a reusable container, Sodexo made the switch to a single-use container for students to use. There have now been two carry-out containers this year, the original option was a styrofoam container, but many students saw an issue with styrofoam because it was not sustainable. 

Ethan Kershaw, Student Government environmental affairs chair, said the nearest recycling center for styrofoam is in Iowa, making it difficult to ensure that the containers were recycled. 

A petition was soon started by the Sustainability Office. The petition, which received 473 signatures, called for Truman State University to switch to a container that was more sustainable for the students to use for carry-out. 

“So the idea came off of just eating in the dining hall and being on campus myself and working in the [Sustainability] Office,” Jessie Coleman, Sustainability Office events coordinator, said. “I had been bouncing the idea off of one of my bosses, Payton Sullivan, and Caroline Vogl who is an intern at the office, talking to those two girls, thinking what can we do to work towards a better option than styrofoam.” 

Sodexo had been working on something more sustainable since the beginning of the school year but found it difficult because many places are doing carry-out, so supply and demand are high. 

 Sodexo General Manager John Stewart said styrofoam was almost the only option to use for the time being until Sysco, the company that Sodexo receives products from, had more supplies available. 

“Sodexo is very sustainable as far as trying to reduce that carbon footprint, so it wasn’t an intentional thing to use the styrofoam,” Stewart said. “It was just kind of a pandemic thing, so I feel really good that we were able to score the containers.”

Stewart said that the new containers are a biodegradable, food-grade container that is an earth-friendly, compostable product. 

This new change is a good step, some students, however, still find issues with the new containers.

“The plastic on top, it says it’s a number five, those can’t be recycled in the dorms at all,” Coleman said. “The box is not recyclable for the freshmen that live on campus and for anyone who lives on campus.”

If students wish to recycle them, they can go to the Sustainability Office in Violette Hall 1310, as long as the containers have been washed beforehand.