Re-usable meal boxes: To stay or to-go?

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By Caroline Hershey

In an effort to boost Union’s environmentally friendly reputation, reusable ‘green’ to-go boxes have replaced wasteful disposable containers in West and Upper Dining Halls.

So how does it work? Students can pay four dollars for a U-Sustain carabiner that can be used to get a box. Upon returning the dirty box at the next meal, students receive a carabiner to be traded in for a box the next time they want to have a meal to-go. Ideally, this system would run smoothly; however there are some issues.

Around campus, the new system is getting mixed reviews, with some students saying that the boxes need “to-go.” Freshman class president Chris Sainato initially voted against the change for a number of reasons.

“You acquire a [charge] if you lose the keychain and you’re stuck carrying around a dirty box all day,” said Sainato.

In order to avoid the smell and mess of rotting food in the used containers, some students decide to rinse out their box in bathroom sinks. Obviously this results in clogged drains, which can then result in a clean-up charge that is then tacked onto the floor’s end of the year bill. Likewise, if the used containers are not quickly returned to the dining hall, mold and bugs can be the result.

“My roommates forget to return their boxes and our room smells like rotting food,” said Elly Morse ’14.

Aside from the negatives, there is a positive upside—the valuable environmental impact that arguably outweighs the inconveniences.

“They’re practical and more environmentally friendly which is most important,” commented Kaylee Queen ‘12.

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