MSG, MAC/SAC say goodbye to single-use cups

Eva Mihelich, News editor

Mercyhurst is committed to offering sustainable options in an effort to help the environment in small ways. Reusable containers are now available at both the Grotto Commons and the 501 Grille to prevent students from using disposable to-go containers that add up waste on campus.

The Bookstore sells many reusable water bottles that can be refilled at any water fountain on campus that has the refill option to ensure that students have other options besides plastic water bottles.

The most recent sustainability effort on campus has been MAC/SAC and MSG’s decision to stop using single-use water bottles at campus events. This initiative could be seen through events such as Halloween Mocktail Night, where students who wanted to participate and try the mocktails had to bring anything but a cup. This was a fun, sustainable way to promote alternatives to using plastic cups and bottles.

Steph Przepiora, director of Campus Involvement, said that this decision came from a point of realization at how much waste was being produced at campus events. “During 2021-2022 school year, MSG and MAC/SAC purchased over 500 single use bottles of water for events. We also know that many of those bottles were not properly recycled,” said Przepiora.

During Welcome Week, freshmen are each given a free reusable tumbler, so Przepiora hopes that eliminating single use cups and bottles for campus events will encourage students to start using them without relying on wasteful options.

Some students may argue that even if disposable cups and bottles are offered at events, they could just recycle them. However, Przepiora said that dumpsters are not always used properly, and many students and faculty do not properly dis-pose of waste in a sustainable manner. “While we do have recycling on campus, it’s not always the most convenient or reliable, and sometimes due to contamination of the recycling dumpsters with non recyclable or dirty recyclables, the whole dumpster has to be thrown out,” said Przepiora.

Although there are signs on most of the garbage cans and recycling bins around campus, a persistent issue has been people’s disregard for those signs, as they throw everything out in the garbage.

Przepiora said that there are always large water coolers at campus events in addition to the bottle-filling water fountain in the Student Union, where most events are held. Students therefore do not have an excuse to use plastic water bottles since there are many other options. Small changes like this can drastically help the environment if everyone each contributes, so there are high hopes that this initiative will help the campus community move to-wards a cleaner, sustainable university.

“By MSG and MAC/SAC making this small change, and requiring just a little bit of effort from students attending events, we can keep a lot of plastic out of the landfills,” said Przepiora.

Make sure to carry your reusable water bottle around, and to follow proper disposal instructions for any sort of waste. Samantha Weber, treasurer of MSG, said that by taking this initiative, Mercyhurst is both saving money and saving waste.

“We’ve been noticing more and more waste at campus events, so we just hope that this will show students how easy it is to be environmentally friendly, even on a college campus,” said Weber.

Although there are still other problems regarding recycling on campus, eliminating single-use cups offers an easy, efficient way to cut back on waste in the Mercyhurst community.

Encourage your friends to stop purchasing packs of wa-ter bottles to help out the en-vironment. Not only is it less wasteful, but it can also save you money.

Investing in a water filter and a reusable water bottle will save money in the long run. Instead of purchasing packs of water bottles, reflect on making the investment to save both your wallet and the planet.

Studies show that approximately 1.5 billion plastic water bottles are used each day. Think about how much plastic is built up each year. By using a reusable water bottle, you can save an average of 150 plastic water bottles annually. Reusable water bottles, and even reusable bags, can help out the planet in drastic ways even though it is such a simple, mundane concept.

We only have one Earth, so we all have to do our part to keep it clean and waste-free.