Gonzaga University continues to make strides toward a more sustainable campus with new reusable food containers at 1887 at Cataldo. The progress comes in the form of green plastic containers that students can pick up when they get food and return later when they are done to be washed for reuse by other students. Students receive a freshly washed container when they return their previous one.
Chef Tompall Nichols started this initiative when he saw trash cans full of disposable food containers from students that hadn’t taken their food to go. His concern for the unnecessary waste inspired him to offer a greener alternative.
It costs $5 to purchase the reusable container, which can be paid with Bulldog Bucks or money. When a student enters 1887 they can tell the attendant at the door that they want a container. When the student receives a green container, they will also receive a token which they bring back when returning the container. If they are eating inside of 1887, they can toss the container into a specified bin to be collected and washed for the next use. The containers can be taken anywhere and can be returned at the student’s convenience with their received token.
Not only does this new system cut down on material waste, it also cuts down on cost. Each disposable container costs $1.20, and with the amount of students flowing through the establishment using and throwing away these boxes, the environmental and monetary costs add up.
There are currently no other food outlets on campus that offer reusable containers, but the staff at 1887 hopes that it will catch on. The feedback of the students will help the dining staff determine the next step in dining sustainability.
Along with the containers, 1887 exclusively offers biodegradable utensils and napkins. It continues to make steps toward being more and more environmentally friendly every day and wishes to inspire other locations on and off campus to do the same.
Hannah Landry is a contributor.