UD’s Dining Services partners with the Hanley Sustainability Institute to implement the use of reusable take-out containers, photo courtesy of Flyer News.
In a period where students across campus are forced to eat carry-out meals rather than spend time in the dining hall with friends, the University of Dayton is striving to reduce waste from the typical take-out food box by introducing a reusable food container program.
Partnering with the Hanley Sustainability Institute, Dining Services unveiled the clear, reusable containers at the beginning of February with the hopes of saving money while also making a conscious effort to lessen the amount of single use objects in the Dayton area.
The program, which is currently offered in Marycrest Complex, is available to any student by simply asking an employee for a reusable container. After purchasing and eating your food, you may return the container, uncleaned, to multiple locations around campus.
Reusable food containers are a large step in the right direction according to sophomore, Tim Erhart, who is a member of the Sustainability Activation Programs within the Hanley Sustainability Institute.
“Many single use plastics are improperly recycled, which end up in the ocean and harm wildlife. Hopefully, this project will make the UD community more aware of the environmental impact of reusing,” Erhart said.
The University also began the program in hopes of a positive financial impact.
Xavier University implemented a similar project that saved them $36,000 per year in Styrofoam costs, according to Food Service Director, Ed Devoid.
In addition to the financial benefit, the University has cut waste from 28 yards per week to just three yards per week. While the reusable container program has had both an economic and environmental benefit for Xavier, many students have also praised the plastic boxes for keeping their food much warmer than Styrofoam.
Ohio University also promotes the reusing of food containers through an initiative that started in 2018. Like Dayton’s new program, students have the option to take carry-out meals in a plastic box, and return them to multiple locations around the Athens, Ohio, campus. The Ohio project has grown extremely popular among students, and has expanded all over campus.
“Hopefully the UD program can gain traction similar to the way it has at Ohio University,” Erhart said.
“I really think Dayton has the ability to do something special with this, and even though we are a smaller university, we have the power to act as a trendsetter for universities across the United States.”
The University of Dayton program plans to expand to all university owned dining in the near future in hopes of eventually being a zero-waste university, with this initiative being just one easy way to make this goal achievable.