The COVID-19 pandemic has altered many of our daily habits, with the introduction of disposable masks into many of our lives and the use of reusable items such as bags being discouraged. Here at Tech, waste production has grown with the use of to-go containers in our dining halls. These habits are great for combating COVID-19, but many are concerned that their environmental impact will not go unnoticed. Fortunately, there are many opportunities here to help in the spread of sustainable habits now and when the pandemic ends.
Sponsored by Dining Services, in cooperation with Consumers Product Manufacturing, is the reusable container program Mr. Lid. Participants in the Mr. Lid programs make a one time $5 opt-in fee to receive a program keychain. The program keychain can then be brought to the North Coast Grill and Deli in the Memorial Union Building, and handed to the cashier at the time of purchase. Participants will receive ten percent off their orders and their food in a reusable container. The participant may turn in their dirty container back to the Cafe, at which time they will have their keychain returned. Once a participant opts in, they may participate for the remainder of their college career.
The program begins the week after Spring Break, but if anyone wishes to opt in early, they may do so by stopping by the MUB between 11:00 and 1:30 Monday through Wednesday, or Friday between 12:00 and 1:00, and speaking to a Mr. Lid team member.
Co-sponsored by the Michigan Tech Great Lake Research Center, the Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative and other local groups is the Sustainable Film and Facilitated Discussion Series, hosted on the third Thursday of every month from seven to eight in the evening. Two films have already been shown, one in January and one in February, but further films can be caught between now and May. There is no cost to participate, but a $5 per film donation is appreciated. Topics include water sustainability, plastic waste, and climate change solutions. Participates can register for future films here.
Meanwhile, Students for Sustainability (SFS) is running several projects, including a composting drive. Collection sites and times for compost material include the Sustainability Demonstration House (SDH) on Sundays before three o’clock, and Douglass Houghton Hall on Fridays from 4-6 p.m.. Additionally, SFS is hosting a clothing swap this Saturday, Feb. 27. Clothing is being collected in bins near the front desk of each residence hall. The clothing drops on Facebook at S4SMTU at noon. These and other SFS projects can be viewed here.
The SDH has launched the Keweenaw’s second Annual Waste Reduction Drive. They are collecting dental products, disposable razors, plastic film, plastic bottle caps and rings, egg cartons, and foil-lined snack wrappers. Additional information and drop-off locations can be viewed here.
These events are proof of the ongoing importance of environmental awareness in our world, and demonstrate the ongoing efforts of Michigan Tech students to improve our campus and community.