Monday, April 6, 2009

Bon Appetit Plans to Remove Filthy Green Recycline Cups from Goucher College Dining Halls

I was recently approached by Jacob Dilson, a freshman at Goucher College who shared my sympathies about the conditions of the green plastic cups in Stimson and Heubeck dining halls. The following is an excerpt from an email Jacob sent me on April 2, 2009 describing his concerns about the cups:
When washing down a hot meal, having a clean cup to drink out of is usually a given. Stimson is a gross exception. On various occasions, the rim of a cup has been sticky with juice from its last user. The sides of them are, from time to time, smudged with a stain as mysterious as some of the food served. The interiors are prone to a rather questionable scent. These unsanitary conditions worry me- for they may indicate a level of carelessness in dishwashing. If not this, perhaps the washing facilities are not very effective.
The next day I forwarded this quote to Norman Zwagil, General Manager of Bon Appetit at Goucher College. On April 4, 2009 I received the following response:
We are not going to be using Recycline cups any longer. We will replace them with tumblers that are hard plastic or acrylic just as soon as they come in and in the mean time we will use disposable cups.
This is wonderful news but what exactly are Recycline cups? Well, to tell you the truth I've been a little confused myself. From my research I am able to deduced that the Recycline company is now Preserve Products. They offer the same green tumbler (an all-purpose flat-bottomed drinking glass) as mentioned above as well as kitchen, personal care, and other tableware products. Click here for a direct link to the green tumblers or check out an article from the New York Times Magazine on March 4, 2009 titled "Recycling Preserve Products."

It is my understanding that these cups are not best suited for industrial use. The do not seem to wash well in large batches because they can easily get stuck together. I can not comment on their in personal use because I have not used these cups outside of the dining halls.


Anonymous said...

Hi Michael,

Thank you for taking the time to bring this issue to our attention. We applaud Goucher’s efforts to try to make the dining hall more sustainable by using recycled products. We are sorry that the products are not working for you. Prior to launching the line, we did test the tableware in a commercial dishwasher at a university as well as a residential dishwasher—both tests showed that the tableware including tumblers could hold up to the high heat and be perfectly clean when it came out. We have had no complaints like this since the product line launched four years ago. Perhaps there is something particular to the dishwasher that is causing the problem? We stand by the Preserve Tableware, whether it’s used on a small-scale in a home, or a larger-scale as in an office or school cafeteria.

In keeping with the environmental mission of Preserve, please do not throw away the tableware but rather send it back to us clean and we will incorporate it into our new pilot tableware sharing program. This program is for Preservers who would like to use large quantities of tableware for parties and gatherings. When choosing a new set of tableware for your dining hall, please encourage whoever is responsible for purchasing to continue to take the environment into consideration and research eco-friendly materials. If you have any further questions, please feel free to email us at

Kind regards,

Elisa Chiniara

Customer Service Associate

Michael Karelis said...

Thank you for your response. I republished it as a blog post for people to comment on here:

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