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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Reusable food order forms can help reduce waste

    Each day, students use approximately 4,500 pages of paper when ordering from on-campus restaurants, according to Jason Tolliver, the director of the Arizona Student Unions. Paper order forms are a common sight at on-campus hot spots like Bagel Talk, IQ Fresh, Route 66 Grill, Wrap It! and Cactus Grill.

    However, the recent implementation of reusable laminated order forms at La Petite Patisserie in the Park Student Union suggests that paper order forms create unnecessary waste. If more restaurants adopted this new method, the decrease in paper waste would better establish the UA’s commitment to environmental sustainability.

    On Wednesday, La Petite received 287 orders, Tolliver said. This excludes virtual orders made through Tapingo, a smartphone application that allows students to place orders ahead of time from their phones and avoid waiting in line. The app was introduced to the UA campus earlier this semester after its January 2012 launch in California.

    With about four order sheets per piece of paper, La Petite would have used about 72 sheets of paper had it not offered reusable slips. At a university with more than 38,000 students, it is necessary to limit our individual waste contribution anywhere possible.

    Alfredo Rabago, a pre-business sophomore, has worked at La Petite Patisserie since January. La Petite Patisserie has been using these new forms for three weeks, since employees brainstormed ways to be more environmentally friendly.

    During busy hours, La Petite Patisserie customers have the option of using either reusable or paper order forms because it’s difficult to put the reusable forms back out where customers can use them, whereas during slower hours, La Petite Patisserie tries to use the reusable ones only, Rabago said.

    “I think it is important to conserve in general,” Rabago said. “We have one planet, one earth, and it’s important to make sure that we have enough of everything for future generations so that they can have the same experience, if not better, than we do.”

    This touches on the moral ideals this change would promote. Even a small change such as this one has significant potential to conserve materials without disrupting the flow of students. Not only would reusable sheets save paper, but they would also save money usually spent on reams and printing. Student reaction has also been almost completely positive, according to Rabago.

    “Coating the menu strips in lamination is beneficial not only for the waste it prevents, but also because there will no longer be wars to get the sharp pencil,” said Peter Cortes, an optical engineering junior.

    Ross Rad, an acting freshman, said he also thinks replacing paper forms with reusable ones is beneficial.

    “The amount of paper these orders waste is completely unnecessary and I think other restaurants should follow suit,” he said.

    After the successful addition of Tapingo to campus, which has also reduced paper waste, Tolliver said he would be open to implementing laminated slips in other locations. Some restaurants may have too much traffic to use this system without slowing down the ordering process, but smaller establishments don’t have an excuse. This is a simple change that can make a huge difference, and it helps both students and the individual establishments.

    Shelby Thomas is a journalism sophomore. Follow her @shelbyalayane.

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