Penn State test pilots reusable takeout container program

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa – Beginning March 19, Pollock Dining Commons will launch the Green2Go Reusable takeout container pilot program. Students will have the opportunity to choose between an eco-friendly, reusable container or the traditional polystyrene product when getting a take-out meal.

Green2Go, a dishwasher and microwave-safe reusable takeout container, is part of Penn State’s emerging sustainability efforts. According to Brandon Hendricks, manager of Pollock Dining Commons, the dining commons served 39,400 individual containers during the fall of 2013. The goal of this program is to reduce that number and to demonstrate student participation, so it can be expanded campus-wide. Students can sign up to participate in the program in Pollock Commons.

“It’s a program that helps students reduce their waste in the easiest way possible.”

--  Emily Newman, co-organizer of the Green2Go pilot.

“It’s a program that helps students reduce their waste in the easiest way possible,” said Emily Newman, co-organizer of the Green2Go pilot.

According to co-organizer Keirstan Kure, it is simple to learn how to use Green2Go. “Students rent the container with a one-time swipe of their card, use the container the same way as always, enjoy their meal, and then take the container home. At their convenience, students can exchange the container for a new one, or they can get a carabineer as a token to be traded for a container at a later time,” explained Kure. The student receives a clean container each time they request their meal to go.

For the pilot, the pickup and drop-off site for containers will be exclusively at the cashier station in the Pollock Dining Commons.

Green2Go has become a reality because of efforts from many students and staff, none more than Lisa Wandel, director of residential dining. Wandel petitioned the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture for a variance to allow the use of reusable takeout containers at Penn State and has worked closely with the student organizers to roll out the pilot.

“Lisa really worked behind the scenes to make this available to students,” said Kure. “She’s passionate about sustainability and about students getting what they need at Penn State.” Behrend’s Dobbins Dining and Bruno’s Café, both at Penn State Erie, the Behrend College, also will be test piloting the Green2Go program.

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