The foam box has met its end at UCF.
University of Central Florida Dining Services is taking sustainability to the next level by replacing the disposable foam containers with reusable plastic “to-go” boxes at Marketplace and Knightro’s dining halls.
The new boxes are available this week. Made of recyclable plastic, the to-go food boxes are estimated to keep 145,000 disposable foam containers out of landfills this academic year.
“This program is yet another initiative in our ongoing plan to strive toward zero waste and support the sustainability goals of UCF,” said Robbie Turner, resident district manager for UCF Dining Services/ARAMARK.
When students finish eating their meals in residence halls or other locations, they can trade in the used to-go boxes for clean ones or choose to receive a card redeemable for a new box for their next meal.
The reusable to-go boxes are free for students on a meal plan. Students without meal plans can enroll in the reusable to-go box program at the Marketplace Main Office by paying a $5 deposit, which is refundable at the end of the semester.
Students can also save money by going green with UCF Dining Services’ new reusable to-go cups, called “2-in-1 Tumblers,” which will allow users to receive $.99 fountain drink and coffee refills.
Other eco-friendly changes to conserve water and reduce food waste at the dining halls have led to big savings on energy, water, cleaning agents and waste removal.
Since 2008, trayless dining, for example, has saved more than 1.2 million gallons of water and nearly 8,425 pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere, according to Eden Wetherell, sustainability coordinator for UCF Dining Services.
Marketplace and Knightro’s also host stations that cater to vegetarian and vegan students and cut down on food waste. Knightstop, a convenience store located inside the Student Union, offers organic to-go options in smaller portions for students on the run looking for a quick bite. And instead of discarding fryer oil, UCF Dining Services recycles 100 percent of the oil into biofuels that power large trucks and machinery.
Dining Services also recycles coffee grounds collected from the Java City coffee shop in the UCF Library, Burger King and Einstein Bros. Bagels located on campus. Nearly 3,000 pounds of grounds are composted each semester and donated to the UCF Arboretum’s organic community garden.
To learn more about UCF Dining Services and its sustainability initiatives, go to www.UCFDining.com/sustainability.