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Dana Donatucci and Betty Jo Johnson demonstrate recycling into two waste containers, one labeled COMPOSTABLES ONLY (for paper plate, paper napkin, food) and one labeled RECYCLE CANS & BOTTLES (for a soda can and bottle).

Longtime CSBU Staff Day volunteers Dana Donatucci, left, and Betty Jo Johnson preview the recycling system for the 2007 event.

Aiming for zero waste

Ninth annual CSBU Staff Day to celebrate energy and innovation of Twin Cities campus civil service and bargaining unit staff

By Gayla Marty

Brief, May 30, 2007

For each of its nine years, CSBU Staff Day has consumed a share of Betty Jo Johnson's energy. Granted, she has a lot of energy. Johnson--who retires this year from the College of Education and Human Development after 30 years at the U--was one of the bargaining unit members who joined forces with civil service staff to plan the first Twin Cities campus celebration in 1999.

At the time, the campus held various events to celebrate faculty and academic professionals and administrative (P&A) staff, but there was no event devoted to recognizing CSBU staff.

"The thought was that everybody has done something extraordinary at some point!" Johnson says. "George Hoh--who was on the Civil Service Committee--really got it started.

"George wanted it all--like all of us on the committee do," she laughs. "And he got it! A choir, the U Marching Band, balloons, hot dogs, T-shirts--it was incredible."

Every year, the committee has made changes and adjustments--some successful, some not. T-shirts went away--too hard to order the right sizes for a crowd of 6,000 or more. Successful gifts have included such items as insulated lunch boxes and book bags.

Wednesday, June 6

Lunch: Beef or veggie burger, chips, fruit, cookie, beverages

To be eligible for the raffle (June 6 only) and to claim your gift while supplies last, present the coupon that was sent to all CSBU staff by campus mail.

St. Paul
11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
South area, Carter and Eckles avenues

11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. and
6:30-8 p.m.
Coffman Union, front plaza

To request disability accommodations or ask questions, call Mary at 612-626-9462.

Last year, the Coffman location was changed to the river side, but the lines were too long. This year, the Coffman location is back on the mall side, and the planning committee is planning for more lines and quicker service.

It's also aiming even higher--to zero.

Zero waste, that is.

What is zero waste?

A zero-waste event is one in which no waste is disposed by incineration or landfilling, says Twin Cities campus recycling coordinator Dana Donatucci.

The first step is to reduce what's used at an event. For CSBU Staff Day, that will mean using bulk potato chips, bulk condiments, and bulk cookies and apples instead of individually wrapped items, and eating picnic style, which won't require utensils. The only waste item will be the plastic gloves worn by the servers.

The second step is changing the waste that is generated so it can be recycled or composted. For staff day, it means using bagasse plates (made of compostable sugar cane fiber), compostable paper napkins, and recylable cans and bottles.

Partiers can help by (1) moving quickly through the line and accepting standard servings and (2) sorting waste into two types of containers--one marked for cans and bottles, one for everything else--plates, napkins, and leftover food.

Donatucci is enthusiastic about this year's goal. He's been involved with CSBU Staff Day since its second or third year and is glad to be working with food service and other staff on a project close to his heart.

"Striving for zero waste mimics nature," says Donatucci. "This will make the CSBU Staff Day more pleasant and more environmental."