Finally, I get through the long pasta Fusion line and hurry over to the drink dispensers. I smugly show off my dinner as I reach for a cup…and there are none to be found. I glance around exasperated, trying to find a substitute paper cup, but alas. None to be found.
Lately, people have started really noticing that Peirce cups have suddenly gone missing. First the plastic cups, then the paper cups too. I can relate to the frustration. Usually I don’t rely on Peirce’s plastic cups since they always run out so fast, and instead I bring along my own water bottle. Yet I can understand the need for a quick to-go cup full of coffee. Most people cannot function without their coffee, and the paper cups are used for a variety of other things as well (my favorite being on-the-go applesauce).
On April 21st and 22nd, there weren’t paper cups in order to cut down on waste for Earth Day. It’s just a small change that won’t have too big of an impact, but the idea of trying to be more environmentally conscious is super important. The absence of these cups that we depend on so much is a gentle reminder that we should make more of an effort to be eco-friendly 24/7, not just as a special occasion.
It does get a bit ridiculous however, when all the plastic cups run out and people start using bowls to drink their Pepsi. But I don’t think it’s useful to loudly complain in front of all the hardworking AVI employees, because they’re just as frustrated as we are about the cup situation. The lack of plastic cups isn’t their fault, it’s ours. The entire dishware situation at Peirce is unacceptable because we all take the dishes and don’t give them back. The whole point of Peirce being a walk-in dining hall is not so we can abuse their system and hoard all their dishes (particularly their cups).
In a way, I see the withheld paper cups as a challenge to us as students to bring back the dishes we’ve kept or have been too lazy to put into a collection bin. Although it was only a two day trial, I think removing paper cups from Peirce could lessen our environmental footprint as a college. (Remember, “No Tray Tuesday” inspired us to get rid of trays altogether, which saves water!)
It also may inspire us all to start cutting down on waste by bringing our own water bottles. But I don’t think it’s a punishment, and I certainly don’t believe that there’s anything productive about blaming others. Let’s take the responsibility to fix the situation so next time we forget to bring our personal mugs, or we want to save a snack for later, there are plenty of Peirce cups ready and available.
Image Credit: Giphy, Clara Yetter