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Going green, saving green

Campus cards power reusable container systems in campus dining

Virtually every institution regardless of its size has some sort of sustainability or “green” initiative on campus. It boils down to a desire to minimize unnecessary waste and cut potential cost associated with older, less environmentally economic practices.

Green-campus initiatives abound in food services and dining halls. No matter how you cut it, dining facilities can be wasteful operations with piles of uneaten or neglected food and scores of single use take-out containers used by on-the-go students.

But campuses are finding a solution that effectively kills both these birds with a single stone. OZZI is a system that leverages automated kiosks and reusable, returnable takeout containers to both cut campus waste and alleviate costs previously devoted to disposable containers and flatware.

On many OZZI campuses, the student ID card is helping to power this new environmental initiative.

The skinny

The OZZI sales pitch is fairly straightforward – help a campus reduce landfill waste by collecting reusable eco-containers in lieu of disposable products and cut costs associated with waste hauling and the purchase of single use paper or Styrofoam containers.

One OZZI campus, Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York, reports spending $60,000 per year to purchase disposable to-go boxes. In addition the campus spends a significant amount on the removal of the waste, which includes both custodial labor and the solid waste bill.

A typical campus OZZI deployment sees the company’s reusable containers placed in the dining hall for students to fill with food at which point the student reports to the cashier to checkout.

The containers, themselves, are durable, and feature bar codes on the bottom so purchases can be tracked. Each container will withstand roughly 200 washes before being recycled again. The containers are not meant to be washed by students before being reused; rather they must be sanitized between uses by a university’s dining services department.

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