By Gabriel Esparza
Hamburg — Students can now take their meals to go in plastic, washable containers from the Hilbert College dining hall. The college has introduced a new Styrofoam free takeout program called “Eco To-Go.” Students sign up for the program at the register. With a $15 purchase students will be able to take two containers at a time, and keep two on reserve. Dirty, rinsed dishes will be returned back to the cafeteria and they will be replaced by two new ones. The two containers will include one soup bowl and one compartmentalized to-go box.
The move toward a more environmentally friendly takeout policy is driven by past excess waste. According to Jessica Lively, the food service director, Styrofoam plates and cups were taking up too much waste and too much of the budget. “The trash and dumpster were constantly being filled, the Styrofoam order would be as high as 1200 boxes, just to be thrown out,” Lively said. Students would often use the to-go containers and still dine in. This kept the workers busier than necessary emptying trash. An additional factor was a possible health effect of students eating food from styrofoam, especially if food was microwaved inside the Styrofoam, Lively said.
Lively made it clear that the dining hall is not trying to turn a profit on the containers and said, “we are currently breaking even.” The cost for access to the four containers is currently $15, if you sign up before Jan 31. That’s down from the original $20 price. The containers are microwaveable, dishwasher safe and can be placed in the freezer.