Through this We Mean Green Fund project, a reusable food to-go container system will be implemented at The Campus Chat Food Court in the University Union beginning in spring 2022. Proposed by two UNT students and carried out by UNT Dining Services, the project will reduce the number of single-use plastics utilized on campus. Single-use plastic to-go containers that are directed to the landfill have the potential to pollute the oceans, harm wildlife, and leach toxins into the fresh food and water that we consume. Even if they have a recycling symbol on them, single-use to-go food containers with remnants of food waste on them cannot be recycled because recyclables must be clean prior to processing at a recycling facility. Zero waste food takeout options are more than ever essential to minimizing our environmental impact.
This student-initiated project aims to divert 40% of single-use plastic containers from the landfill in its early stages by replacing single-use containers in many areas of The Chat with an option for re-usable food containers. Guests dining in The Chat will have the opportunity to engage in sustainable practices by opting to pay a one-time borrow fee to use a re-usable container for their food. Once the container is emptied after use, the guest will return it and can continue using the re-usable containers in the future at no extra cost. To incentivize participation for the first 2,000 program participants, the initial membership fee will be $2.50. Thereafter, the cost to join the program will be $5. This membership fee will help maintain the cost to operate the program, such as purchasing additional containers. The project is currently in its planning and construction phases. Be sure to choose this sustainable option while dining at The Campus Chat Food Court beginning in spring 2022!