By protecting and improving our environment, the communities where we do business and the students we serve, Muhlenberg Dining makes every day a better day and every tomorrow a better tomorrow.

Sustainability News

Thirsty for Change?

by Natalie Warhit '19 & Mimi Salters '20

November 7, 2018

Java Joe Compostable

As cooler weather is rolling in, all we want to do is sip on a hot, comforting beverage on our favorite couch at Java Joe. While this is something we like to enjoy everyday, there is also great environmental impact due to single use plastic at our campus coffee shop. However, this is all about to change...

Java Joe, in its affiliation with Starbucks, is currently in the process of transitioning to compostable alternatives from the traditional paper and plastic cups, straws and lids currently used. This is in addition to compostable products used at Muhlenberg College's other dining locations including the Wood Dining Commons, General's Quarters, Mule Express, and Freshens.

Muhlenberg Collee is working to reduce its use of single plastic not only to lead by example, but to also reduce our institution's ecological footprint. According to research compiled by The Last Plastic Straw Movement, "In the U.S., we use 500 million straws a day! That is enough straw waste to wrap the circumference of the earth 2.5 times or to fill Yankee Stadium over 9 times in a year! Now imagine that magnified by global consumption." However, straws are merely a portion of the world's plastic waste.

As an institution that holds sustainability as a core value, Muhlenberg has a responsibility to use products that are in line with its values. Java Joe will gradually introduce compostable products over the course of the next couple months in order to move forward with its commitments to sustainability and promoting a mindful lifestyle to students. Some of the compostable materials will include hot and cold cups, lids, and straws. Currently, Java Joe has all compostable hot cups, tall size cold cups, and lids. Leah Santacroce, a senior at Muhlenberg College, stated, "it is important for institutions such as Muhlenberg to use more compostable products instead of plastic ones, because it inspires students to make other personal choices that promote sustainability." Muhlenberg not only wants to implement sustainable practices to reduce its waste, but also to encourage students to make other environmentally-conscious decisions during their college career and beyond.

While Muhlenberg does not yet compost at its dining locations, making the switch from plastics to compostable products is a step in the right direction. Unlike plastic, compostable products are made out of sustainable materials. However, Muhlenberg College hopes to eventually implement college-wide composting. 

Although the most sustainable option is to bring your own reusable coffee mug, such as the mason jars sold at General's Quarters and Java Joe, using compostable materials is another way to have a positive impact on the environment. Dining Services will keep the Muhlenberg community updated as compostable products are introduced at Java Joe. We are proud and excited to take on this new sustainable endeavor! Now you can enjoy your warm beverage in an eco-friendly fashion - making this experience better for you and the planet.

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The Last Straw 1

The Last Straw 2

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