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Disposable coffee cups

The Technion / Israeli Institute of Technology in Haifa, has announced that on October 1, 2021, the institution will stop buying disposable utensils.

The decision by Technion Executive Vice President & Director General Professor Boaz Golany came after a lengthy research study and a thorough review of the alternatives.

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In 2019, the Technion bought more than 2.3 million disposable cups, almost one million disposable teaspoons, and hundreds of thousands of other single-use items. Disposable utensils currently account for approximately 9 percent of waste on campus, and the present move is intended to reduce the amount of waste and reduce associated expenses.

In parallel to the CEO’s decision, the Technion will be providing its faculties and units with information on relevant and more environmentally friendly alternatives, according to a release from the Institute.

Until adequate alternatives are found, however, the decision excludes cafeterias and small events held in the faculties.

“This is a comprehensive move that encompasses the Technion as a whole, and its implications are far-reaching,” said Golany.

The move is being led by the Technion’s Sustainability Hub under the academic guidance of Professor Daniel Orenstein, who has authored important research on the issue of sustainability at universities, and the Hub’s coordinator, Dr. Ronit Cohen Seffer.

“Our view of sustainability and material consumption is holistic, and encompasses all potential responses: reduce, reuse and recycle,” said Orenstein.

“There is no doubt that recycling is important, but reuse and reduction are especially important goals because they prevent pollution already in the production phase.” The production phase of disposable utensils is accompanied by emissions of toxic substances and greenhouse gases, and the transportation of the goods is also the source of a great deal of pollution.

“Before making this decision, we studied every aspect of the alternative – the use of reusable utensils – and we recognize that in addition to discontinuing the use of disposables, we must provide instructions on the right way to reduce the environmental impact of the alternative, too,” Orenstein added.

“It is important to place consumption habits in a much broader context, which is the attempt to minimize damage to the environment on all fronts: energy, waste, land pollution, water and air pollution, and others.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.