Eileen is a senior in Hospitality Management who works at Bevier Café. As part of her James Scholar career building requirement, she chose a waste reduction project for Bevier Café. She and Carter, the kitchen manager, decided cost and waste in the to-go boxes was an issue for the café. They decided that reusable to-go containers was a totally attainable eco-project. Eileen did extensive research on other university café programs, surveying students and staff to get willingness to pay statistics and gaging participation of returning the reusable containers. After Eileen figured out the logistics of the project she applied for SSC funding last spring.
The reusable container program rolled out this fall semester and already has 70 members, including myself. The project has been a huge success in participation and container return rates. So, how does the process work? You order your food, then the cashier will ask you if you want your food for here or to-go. If you say to-go, then the cashier will offer you to join the reusable container program for a onetime payment of $5, which covers the cleaning costs and those containers that are not returned. Many members are staff who work at Bevier Hall, so they can take their lunch up to their desks to eat and work. Students often take the containers and eat in between class if they do not have time to dine-in. After eating you would return the container for the kitchen to clean and reuse.
The Bevier Café reusable container project is easily accessible to customers and engaging for student employees. Student employees have become much more aware of plastic waste in the food process because they are trained to implement the program for Bevier Café. Furthermore, funding for students part of the hospitality management major is a great SSC investment because these students can continue these eco-projects in their future hospitality career paths.
Here are the results of the program so far:
If you have student led project ideas like Eileen’s, please feel free to reach out to SSC for funding!