In this unprecedented time of COVID, there have been many changes to all of our lives. From different ways of learning, to daily tests, to increased use of plastic. To ensure the safety of everyone, these changes are necessary, but could some cause more harm than good?
Plastic is widely used all around the world due to it being extremely cheap and easy to produce. It is also very sterile, allowing it to be the main material in protective equipment during this time. In grocery stores and restaurants, plastic boxes and bags are being used instead of other paper or reusable options to comply with safety standards. This is also happening on campus. In the dining hall, there are take out options with plastic clam- shell containers as well as bags. Although New York State has mandated a plastic bag ban, this initiative was put on hold due to the pandemic. Sustainability Coordinator for Student Programming, Jen Natyzak, expressed how “to- go items have been essential to keeping our Skidmore Community safe in our dining locations.” This has led to a pile up of waste in recycling and landfill bins, causing grounds crew and sustainability staffers to work hard to minimize the overflow.
Sustainability Intern Matthew Cocchi ‘21 expressed how these changes are almost out of the control of the Sustainability Office staff. Usually, to get a better idea of the amount of waste the campus is producing, there are audits that take place by the office