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Northwestern launches “Choose to Reuse” takeout dining option

A new dining initiative at Northwestern University is giving students a flexible option for times when fitting a sit-down meal into the daily schedule isn’t possible. The new program will see reusable to-go containers made available to students visiting campus dining halls.

According to an official university release, the new takeout container option is designed to enable eating on the go without generating unnecessary waste. Students who opt to join the new “Choose to Reuse” program can receive the new takeout containers from the university’s Elder Hall, and in the process skip the sit-down dining experience. And because the carry-out containers are exchanged, cleaned and reused, it’s an simple and sustainable way to provide students with meals on the go.

Students can add the Choose to Reuse option to their meal plans at a one-time cost of $5 per year by signing up at the dining hall cashier station or by visiting Northwestern Dining’s e-commerce website. Cash, credit, debit, Northwestern’s Cat Cash, and dining dollars are all accepted forms of payment for the program.

After signing up, participants receive a Choose to Reuse card. They can then take this card to the dining hall, swipe for their meals using their Wild Cards, Northwestern’s student ID card, and inform the cashier that they want to use a takeout container. The cashier will then take the Choose to Reuse card in exchange for a clean container. The student is then free to fill the container as they see fit and take their meal to go.

As with other reusable takeout container programs, Northwestern students can swap the used container for a clean one upon their next visit to the dining hall if they want to take another meal on the go. Students can also opt to return their containers and get their cards back for use at a later time.

The Choose to Reuse program is only available at Elder Hall. The university says that the program is intended to offer flexibility for students with tight schedules, and with Elder Hall’s newer menu options and extended hours, that location was deemed the best fit to launch the program. Northwestern Dining is planning to expand the Choose to Reuse program to additional campus dining facilities across its main and south campuses by 2018.

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