How metal silverware returned to the Evans Commons

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Silverware dispensary at the Evans Commons.
Photo by Matt Hampton

MATT HAMPTON | Sports Editor

Silverware has returned to the Evans Commons cafeteria this month.

The change came after a student petition to bring back reusable plates and utensils in January. The dining hall started using disposable dinnerware last fall.

Dining Services Director Nancy Tinker said she met with Annika Teschke, the student who started the petition, to agree on a plan for ecological sustainability in the future.  

Unlike the sugarcane-based plates and bowls, the utensils at Evans were not compostable, so they decided to bring back reusable silverware, “to make it obvious that we are interested in changing the program,” Tinker said.

Tinker said silverware will remain for the rest of the semester, after which they plan to switch to compostable utensils.   

In an online dining survey that will go out Monday, Tinker also agreed to include a question about sustainability:  “If Lindenwood Dining created a sustainable and recycling program, would you participate?”

The petition calling for reusable dinnerware at Evans was started last month and got over 750 signatures.  Teschke, who is from Germany, said the petition showed how much people care about the environmental impact of campus dining, and she is glad Tinker is working with her.  

She said she wants Lindenwood to enact further changes for sustainability, including giving students reusable bowls they would wash at home, but she is unsure if these plans will come to fruition.  

“I still think that washable plates are the best solution, but if we don’t get the school to do it, separating the waste would actually be good,” she said.

According to Jenn DeRose, program manager for the St. Louis environmentalist group Green Dining Alliance, because of the ecological impact of producing, packaging, shipping and disposing of single-use materials, “reusables are always more sustainable.”

The Harvard Gazette reported in 2015 that the university, which uses reusable dinnerware, saw “more than 3,000 plates, 4,600 teaspoons, and 2,800 glasses” go missing from dining halls in under three months.