Bon Appetit to offer reusable to-go containers after Labor Day

By Cheyenne Schoen | August 29, 2016 6:06pm

A student receives her food from The Commons in a brown, paper to-go boxes. A reusable alternative to these boxes will soon be offered by Bon Appetit. 

Media Credit: Kayli Gribi / The Beacon

Those brown to-go boxes at The Commons soon won’t be the only way to enjoy campus food on-the-go.

Starting after Labor Day, Bon Appetit will offer plastic reusable to-go containers for a one-time fee of four dollars, which can be purchased with meal points.

The new system aims to increase sustainability and save money.

“We are going to launch (the new system) to see if we can reduce some of the paper usage we’re going through,” Bon Appetit General Manager Kirk Mustain said. “It’s clogging up all the trashcans.”

Mustain said the company spends about $8,000 per week on paper products, and added that the brown to-go boxes cost about 40 cents each.

Bon Appetit tried a similar reusable container system four years ago with little success.

According to Mustain, the problem with the system tested in the past of loaning out plastic to-go containers was that students were not returning the containers. This time, he hopes to have a better system in place for returns.

Customers can use the system by paying the one-time fee, for which they will receive a Bon Appetit carabiner clip. The clip can then be traded in for a container and a carabiner will be returned to the student when they return the dirty container to return stations at the Commons, the Pilot House or the Anchor.

Former Shipstad Hall sustainability coordinator and senior communication studies major Karina Agbisit said she thinks the system could work but it’ll take a few years to smooth out the details.

“I think it’s a good idea but I don’t think it will be very effective this year or the next year or two because they’re going to forget their clip or they’ll throw away their reusable containers because they’re not used to it,” said Agbisit. “I could definitely picture it taking a few years for it to become the norm and to be something everybody does and that everybody eases into.”

Because she lives off-campus, Agbisit said she likely would not take advantage of the system because she could easily bring her own Tupperware to school.

“I think ideally I want to do it, but it would probably take a little bit to get used to it, especially living off campus,” Agbisit said. “So maybe it is something they should target to on-campus students. With that four dollars living off campus, I could just go buy multiple Tupperware for myself.”