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Culinary Services pilots reusable to-go boxes in select dining halls

Story provided by Culinary Services | Dec 20, 2017

Three hundred Ohio University students will have the option to use a new green container at Nelson Court, Shively Court and The District. Green not only describes the color of the box but also its intent. These reusable containers will help reduce the number of disposable boxes that are sent to the landfill each year.

Beginning Spring Semester, students with Traditional or Flex Meal Plans may choose to be part of the pilot—which will help determine if the reusable to-go box program is worthy of full implementation at OHIO’s dining halls in the future.


The Program

Each program participant will receive a reusable to-go box in place of a disposable box at Shively Court, Nelson Court or The District on West Green. Students choosing to participate in the pilot program will use the reusable to-go box during spring semester and provide feedback via two surveys.

Students choosing Culinary Services’ to-go option will swipe into the dining court of their choice and inform the cashier they are choosing the to-go option. They will then enter the dining court and fill the reusable to-go box with their meal and exit the dining court. The student may return the unwashed box, free of large food debris, to any residential dining court. At this point they may either swap it for a clean box, or receive a voucher card for the next time they would like to use a reusable to-go box.


The box

Made by a company called Preserve, the Preserve2go box measures 9 x 9 x 3 inches, is made in the USA from 50 percent recycled plastic that is BPA free. The boxes are dishwasher and microwave safe and feature three divided compartments to keep food separate and seal well to minimize leaking.


The idea

The idea for this program came from the winners of OHIO’s 2017 Eco Challenge Competition and was presented to Culinary Services Development Committee (CSDC) and Student Senate as a way to reduce waste and save money.

The Eco Challenge Competition is a go-green sustainability initiative made up of students from Cutler Scholars and Robe Leadership Institute from the Russ College of  Engineering  and students from the Select Leaders Development Program in the College of Business. The winning team’s solution was a go-green initiative within Culinary Services which would replace the compostable to-go box containers with reusable to-go containers. The winning team consisted of Nathan Arnett from Cutler Scholars, Austin Rehmar from Robe Leadership Institute, and Alex Rado, Haley Klier, and Jill Kolencik from the Select Leader Program.

More information about the program will be available beginning Spring Semester. Those students wanting to participate in the pilot program may sign up at Shively, Nelson or The District on West Green beginning January 16.

to-go box