Sunday, November 18

UCLA Dining transitions to sustainable packaging and suppliers


UCLA Dining switched milk vendors to a higher quality local vendor and changed packaging of sandwiches from plastic boxes to recyclable paper wrapper to be more environmentally friendly. (Daily Bruin file photo)

UCLA Dining switched milk vendors to a higher quality local vendor and changed packaging of sandwiches from plastic boxes to recyclable paper wrapper to be more environmentally friendly. (Daily Bruin file photo)


Some students have been noticing changes in their Bruin Café chocolate milk and sandwich packaging in the last few months.

UCLA Dining officials have been trying to transition to using solely paper sandwich wrappers to be more environmentally friendly. The transition began in spring, but some sandwiches are still being packaged in plastic to use up Bruin Café’s remaining container supply. Dining also switched milk vendors to a higher quality local vendor.

UCLA Dining Services officials said in a statement that originally they tried using polylactic acid containers, which are biodegradable and manufactured from plant-based resources such as corn starch or sugarcane. However, recyclable paper wrappers turned out to be the more economical choice to maintain low prices for students while still supporting sustainable practices, they said.

[Related: Bruin Café wraps in eco-friendly paper packaging]

Until the container supply is depleted, both paper wrappers and PLA containers will be used interchangeably for sandwiches, UCLA Dining officials added.

Evan Lee, a third-year biochemistry student, said he prefers plastic packaging because sandwiches became soggy and inconvenient to hold when wrapped in paper.

However, Mayra Lenzotti, a second-year human biology and society student, said she thinks the plastic packaging is bulky and difficult to carry.

Denisse Rea, a second-year psychology student, said she thinks plastic boxes are not environmentally friendly because it takes more space in the trash can and requires more trash bags.

[Related: De Neve Grab ‘N Go wraps up old menu to offer custom sandwiches]

UCLA Dining officials said students may also have noticed that the milk cartons look different this year because Dining switched to a more sustainable local vendor, Alta Dena.

Last year’s vendor, Rockview, is also a local company, but their processing plant is out of state, while Alta Dena’s processing plant is local, UCLA Dining officials said.

“UCLA Dining switched to the local option to be more sustainable and decrease the campus’ carbon footprint,” they said. “By reducing shipping distance, UCLA Dining is contributing to a reduction in greenhouse gases from transportation.”

UCLA Dining officials added they made no changes to the fat content of students’ chocolate milk. The milk is still one percent reduced fat, they added.

Ava Lalezarzadeh, a first-year theater student, said she would be open to try the new chocolate milk, but was indifferent to it.

Ayden Loughney, a first-year nursing student, said he prefers to drink water when he goes to either cafe on the hill.

“I am not a big milk drinker,” Loughney said.

Asavari Tiku, a second-year undeclared student, said she considers herself an avid chocolate milk drinker. She added she felt the new Alta Dena chocolate milk served at Bruin Café and Café 1919 is good enough.

Contributing reports by Janae Yip and Jacob Preal, Daily Bruin contributors.

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Features & Student Life editor

Ghosh is the assistant news editor for the Features & Student Life beat. She covers features on UCLA students, faculty and staff, obituaries, events on campus, Greek life and the Hill. She was previously a Features & Student Life news contributor and an opinion columnist.


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