Forks gone foul

I came to the University of Vermont for one reason: the forks. I knew that it had great environmental programs, a fun hippie crowd and lots of snow, but the forks were just too awesome to pass up. While first visiting UVM and consuming the misleadingly-good visiting day food, I was told that everything from the cups to the cutlery would be turned right back into dirt and compost. No more wasting petroleum products to make utensils and dining ware that sits in landfills for thousands of years. This attention to detail showed me UVM’s true commitment to being green. Ironically, after touting this environmental achievement, the University has since realized that these products don’t actually decompose or compost… Whoops! The corn and potato starch utensils and cups fail so utterly because they actually do contain some petroleum products in order to make them heat resistant, according to the Burlington Free Press. These utensils are now mostly gone from campus and we are back to using regular plastic forks and metal cutlery. While this may seem like a drawback, it may be a good thing for the University’s “green-a-tude” in the long run. A tremendous amount of petroleum-based fertilizer is used to grow the corn anyway, thus it is still detrimental to the environment. So why are we using land that could grow food to grow forks? The practice of growing tremendous amounts of corn that leaches the soil of nutrients instead of growing vegetable crops to feed people seems far worse than not having compostable silverware. This fork fiasco should not only be looked at as a failure on the University’s part to properly research their investments, but as a learning experience to be used as support for a truly green initiative. One solution to the problem is the fantastic reusable plastic spork, all-in-one spoon-fork-knife, sold around campus. These fancy eating accessories can be purchased around campus for one dollar. It comes in several different colors and will get you a five cent discount at the Marketplace in the Davis Center. I suppose that I will stay at UVM despite the its fictitious fork fables, though I do hope that in the future the University makes sure it is doing more good than harm with its green programs.