The Student News Site of Oregon State University

The Daily Barometer

The Student News Site of Oregon State University

The Daily Barometer

The Student News Site of Oregon State University

The Daily Barometer

Letter to the Editor: OSU should explore sustainable food packaging

Natalie Lutz
General Opinion Graphic

Dear Barometer Editor,

A common phrase most students say at least once during their busy schedules is “I’m going to grab something really quick to eat.”

I know I’ve heard it more than once or twice while walking through campus. 

As a senior in the College of Engineering I have explored the many food options around campus throughout my four years here and I can’t help but notice how much waste is produced on food packaging. The place I think of first when it comes to producing the most waste is the library, and more specifically the café on the first floor, from wrapped sandwiches, single use bags for baked goods and even hard-boiled eggs. 

I’ve seen the way the trash gets filled up as I walk by the trash bins, but I never thought about how much damage we are doing to our planet, and how urgently our food packaging needs to become more sustainable. 

My exploration of sustainable food packaging options began with my enrollment in Geo 300, with Professor Kelsey Emard here at OSU. I was nothing short of proud when I found out that here at OSU, the College of Agricultural Sciences, has made great strides in the topic of sustainable food packaging. 

These advancements are being led by, a 2023 University Distinguished Professor recipient, Dr. Yanyou Zhao who has produced over 10 patents that involve sustainable food packaging alternatives. Nano-Cellulose coatings is just one of the patents she has gotten approved, it’s an edible film that helps decrease food waste by helping fruit deteriorate slower. This patent could help if used on baked goods, campus made sandwiches and smaller prepackaged snacks.

I believe that a swift implementation of these advancements here at OSU for food packaging on campus for a short period, a trial run, would be a perfect large-scale case study. The success of this case study could help fast track the use of these patents worldwide. I believe increased investment in Dr. Zhao’s research not only serves the interests of OSU but also engages the entire student body in a collective effort towards a more sustainable and environmentally conscious future.


Carlos Quezada Jr.

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