Omar Abdu Rahim / Sun Staff Photographer

October 12, 2016

Cornell Dining Disposes of Paper Plates After Severe Drought

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After using disposable plates and utensils for the first seven weeks of classes in an effort to conserve water, Cornell dining halls have turned their dishwashers on again to serve food up on standard plates.

Restricting water usage for over a month this fall due to Ithaca’s severe water crisis, Cornell’s Drought Incident Management Team decided this week that the water which has been saved on campus would mitigate increased water usage in dining halls, according to Director of Campus Life Marketing and Communications Karen Brown.

However, Brown emphasized that, over the next few months, the University will continue to work to conserve water. She noted that ice machines that used potable water have been eliminated and new low-flow showerheads have been installed across residential facilities on campus.

In addition, Cornell Dining will still save water in other ways, such as manually scraping food waste before washing dishes rather than using a constant stream of water.

“Cornell Dining and Campus Life continue to do our part to conserve water,” Brown said. “While we’ll be using china and flatware to be washed in our dish machines, we will maintain other processes that we’ve put in place to conserve water.”

Although the decision to use disposable plates and utensils in dining halls saved water, it was costly, both financially and to the environment, according to the University.

School officials have recommended that people all over campus campus must continue to consider how they can limit their water usage.

Over the summer, the University stopped watering its lawns and power washing buildings. In research labs, reducing the use of materials that need to be cleaned with water has helped the University reduce usage by 20 percent compared to last year, The Sun previously reported.

Students have also been asked to consider how they can save water, such as limiting energy usage and doing laundry less often.

“It’s important that everyone contributes by making small daily changes so we all thrive together,” Cornell’s sustainability communications and integration manager Sarah Brylinsky previously said. “For example, cutting down shower times to five minutes can save up to 25 gallons a day per person, which is a huge contribution.