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7 ways Bennington College’s food service team is taking single-use plastics off the menu

Single-use coffee cups, bags for chips, cups for yogurt, pre-packaged pancake mixes and clamshells for grab and go are all on the chopping block at Bennington College, where the dining department is taking the “Beyond Plastics” perspective seriously.

Images of plastics clogging the oceans can be sobering. College students are among those groups who’d like to do something about it. And they are asking their dining services programs to help out, including at Bennington College.

“Reducing single-use plastic packaging is on the mind of many students and should help inspire all campuses food operations to reduce the use of plastic whenever possible. ”says Judith Enck, president of Beyond Plastics,  a nationwide project that teams up environmental policy experts with college students, based at Bennington College in Bennington, Vt.

Chef Steve Bohrer, director of dining services at Bennington College, has worked in tandem with Beyond Plastics and the college’s ongoing Mellon Foundation-funded work to introduce changes to the dining halls that can significantly reduce single-use plastic while increasing locally sourced food. Bohrer, who brings years of campus dining experience to the table, is interested in making changes that make sense in this setting, including cutting out clamshell containers, eliminating liquid eggs, reducing single-use plastics where possible and coming up with innovative ways to do so.

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