As part of a pilot program beginning Spring Semester, 300 Ohio University students will be able to use reusable to-go boxes at campus dining halls in place of the disposable boxes.

According to a university news release, the box is manufactured by a company called Preserve. The “Preserve2go box” measures 9-by-9-by-3 inches and is made in the U.S. from 50 percent recycled, BPA-free plastic. The containers are meant to help reduce how many disposable to-go boxes are sent to a landfill each year. 

Students with traditional or flex meal plans who choose to be part of the program will be given a reusable to-go box in place of a disposable box at the campus dining halls. They will use the boxes during the Spring Semester and will provide feedback in two surveys.

According to the release, the students may return the unwashed boxes, free of large food debris, to any dining hall. At that point, they may either swap it for a clean box, or receive a voucher card for the next time they would like to use a reusable to-go box.

OU Spokesman Dan Pittman said there are no additional costs to students who want to use the new boxes. 

Jena Prosser, a freshman studying media arts, said reusable boxes could be burdensome and does not think they are something she would use.

“Not that I don’t care about the environment, but it just seems like something else to keep track of,” Prosser said in an email. “I’d have to keep the box in my dorm until I went to the dining hall again which would take up space.”

The success of the pilot program will demonstrate whether or not the boxes should be fully implemented into the dining halls.

The idea for the green, reusable containers came from the winners of Ohio’s 2017 Eco Challenge Competition.

According to the release, the Eco Challenge Competition is a go-green sustainability initiative made up of students from Cutler Scholars and Robe Leadership Institute from the Russ College of Engineering and students from the Select Leaders Development Program in the College of Business.

Students who want to participate in the pilot program can sign up at the campus dining halls beginning Jan. 16.


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