Southwestern’s Dining Services is piloting a new reusable container system program in an effort to reduce waste. The SWOCC Green Box is replacing the polystyrene and paper disposable to-go containers that were thrown away after single use. Staff and students can now purchase a $10 Green Box or $5 Green Soup Container in the exchange program and get a fresh container every time they pick up a meal.
Lynne Whitley, Director of Catering, said the process is really simple.
“Buy your first box, rinse it and then return it for a fresh box or a card to exchange for a fresh box when you need one later.”
Whitley said the new program is an initiative to be more earth friendly.
“We have tried many different to-go options in the past with varied success- some compostable and some styro and lots of in-betweens. The Green Box program will require more labor and expense in dishwashing but in the long run, I think it will be a winning program,” she said.
Staff will no longer be offered other forms of reusable to-go containers at the Café. The health department dictates that reusables have to be washed and managed by our operation for food safety.
Whitley said that although the program will not reduce costs for Dining Services this year, she expects it to in the future as spending on disposables will be significantly decreased. One thing is certain, the new system will substantially reduce the amount of waste the college sends to the landfills.
“In my travels I was noticing that many university campuses have successfully gone to reusable to-go containers. So, of course, I was interested because I want our operation to be forward thinking.”
Although it will require some getting used to, Whitley said the first month of the program has been well received on campus. To purchase your first Green Box, visit Dining Services at Empire Hall during regular hours. For more information contact Lynne Whitley at (541) 888-7189.