When people live somewhere as naturally beautiful as the Pacific Northwest, I imagine they stop at no limits to help keep their environment clean and green. The University of Washington has banished all things plastic from its dining hall, opting for serving products that can be tossed directly into a compost pile.
The cups, containers, plates, and utensils are made of corn, reed work, and sugar cane. Sweet! The "silverware" wasn't so hot at first. Not only did it break down in the soil, it broke down in warm dishes like soup, too. But a year and a half after it began the creative-green initiative, the campus found a product that gets the job done.
Seattle should thank the University of Washington for the trial-and-error success because starting Jan. 1, all food establishments in the city will have to stop using foam, and by July 2010 all plastic must be substituted with recyclable or compostable containers. Sounds like hometown-company Starbucks has to rethink its lids!