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Hanley Sustainability Institute

Reusable takeout food container pilot program starts at UD’s Marycrest Hall

By Mark Gokavi

A pilot program offering reusable containers for takeout food from University of Dayton dining services has begun at Marycrest Hall.

The containers - which can be returned unwashed and using the honor system - are one way UD students can take part in a zero waste initiative.

“This project was one that Joan Bauman (dining services executive director) wanted to do for a couple of years,” Christopher Baldasare, a Hanley Sustainability Institute graduate assistant, said of a process that also included sustainability planning and evaluation manager Leah Ceperley from facilities management. “Leah and I researched what other schools were doing and brainstormed ideas on how to bring it to UD’s campus. Leah worked closely with Joan to get the initial pilot cleared.”

A funding plan helped launch the effort. “After the project was slated to be piloted at Marycrest, it was shown to the zero waste team and we put together posters, social media posts and other ways to support the project,” Baldasare said. “We are now assisting dining in monitoring the pilot program currently going on.”

Dining services distributed information that shows students can ask an attendant for a reusable container when ordering. When finished, it can be dropped off, unwashed, at several locations.

The containers are constructed to be reused, not recycled or thrown out. They are washed and sanitized for reuse.

“The typical reduce, reuse, recycle motto should be a hierarchy,” Baldasare said. “Reducing is better than reusing, and reusing is better than recycling.

“Since the containers reduce the need to produce more recyclable containers, they are more sustainable. Recyclable containers still have to be constantly made and recycled. The reusable containers do not need to be constantly made or constantly recycled.”

For more sustainability news and information, visit HSI’s news blog, the Hanley Sustainability Institute website and the sustainability program website. To sign up for HSI’s Sustainability Spotlight newsletter, register here.

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