BY COREY HENNEBERY // MARCH 25, 2013 //
As the support for “Going Green” has increased over the past few years, so has the push for recycling and energy conservation in colleges and universities nationwide. Curry College’s Dining Services is trying to reinvent the to-go food system here on campus.
To that end, Dining Services has introduced a new green recyclable container for use by students, faculty and staff. For an initial payment of $5 at any of the Marketplace registers, users will receive a laminated card with a recycle sign and a Curry College logo on it. You can then redeem the card at any food station and receive a green reusable to-go container.
Users can fill it with whatever combination of entrées and four sides they want, and pay for their meal accordingly. Upon their return to the Marketplace dining hall, users simply hand in their dirty to-go tray to a cashier and then receive a new laminated card. This cycle is to be repeated until the card or the tray gets lost. The to-go containers and cards are not yet accepted in the campus cafes in Hafer and Kennedy.
The new system—last spring, to-go containers were plastic “clam-shell” containers, which were replaced this past fall with Styrofoam plates and saran wrap—was introduced to the college community with a kickoff event in February. The kitchen staff handed out 150 free cards, redeemable for the reusable containers, to 100 students and 50 staffers and professors. Free cards and containers were again given out before spring break.
This past fall, Dining Services instituted a number of initiatives to decrease waste and cost, including restricting customers’ access to to-go cups for hot and cold beverages. Following student anger over the changes, Dining Services has returned the cups and modified other changes, including reusable to-go containers.
According to Dining Services General Manager Keal Meal, the reusable to-go container program wasn’t well advertised by the Student Government Association or Student Affairs. However, both groups were instrumental in pushing for the new containers, and contributed funding to defray the initial costs. Nonetheless, a number of students, faculty and staff are now using the reusable containers, which is lowering Curry’s food and product waste costs, Meal said.
Jonathan Morris, a freshman communication major, said he’s happy with the new containers, particularly in comparison with last semester’s system. “I hated bringing my leftovers back to my room in two Styrofoam plates wrapped in a bunch of saran wrap. It is a hassle and fills my trash pretty quickly,” he said.
Senior communication major Gregory Donnellan agreed. “We live in a very disposable society, where it’s easier to throw things out than to fix them,” he said. “This program, I believe, has the capability to be very helpful.”