11-29-12 WVU Dining Services goes green with new sustainable to-go containers

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University Dining Services is replacing its Styrofoam to-go containers with a more environmentally friendly alternative.

Always exploring ways to improve student dining and sustainability, Dining Services has contracted with OZZI Enterprises to provide reusable to-go containers at select dining facilities across campus.

OZZI Enterprises has developed a sustainable to-go system that uses tokens and a collectable machine system to provide an easy and sustainable alternative to disposable to-go boxes.

“This is a great system both environmentally and financially. We actually save money using this system as opposed to continuing with the Styrofoam or disposable boxes, and it is better for the environment,” said David Friend, director of Dining Services. “It’s a convenient and helpful way to phase out our disposables and keep costs low for students.”

WVU students will have an opportunity to try a test of the system in the spring at The Terrace Room in Stalnaker Hall. During the first week of the spring semester, students will be able to pick up a free token at The Terrace Room. Students can exchange that token for a washable, plastic, environmentally friendly to-go container when they enter a dining hall.

After eating, students will return the used to-go container to the collection machine outside of The Terrace Room, where they receive a token to use next time they need a container. The dirty containers are cleaned and sanitized for re-use.

It is expected that using the OZZI to-go system will cut down on organic and inorganic waste across the campus.

“While Styrofoam containers have many advantages for the food service industry, they have the potential to leave behind a nasty legacy in terms of non-degradable trash in the environment,” said Professor Chris Haddox, visiting assistant professor for the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design. “In addition, the use of Styrofoam containers promotes the ‘use it once and throw it away’ mentality that is associated with many of the environmental problems we face as a world. I look forward to involving my students in the campaign to reduce the use of Styrofoam containers on the WVU campus.”

Friend said: “In the end, it comes down to the students. If students like the system and embrace it, then we’ll certainly expand it across campus. But, if students don’t care for it, we’ll continue to look into other opportunities to provide a quality and sustainable dining experience for them.”

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