To-go box system reduces plastic use
Tamonda Griffiths—News Writer
The newest addition to Connecticut Hall will continue to promote the dining hall’s commitment to a zero-waste facility; a new re-usable, recyclable to-go containers.
Jeff Kwolek, Chartwell’s food services resident district manager said are an idea of the reusable container had started while he was working at Eastern Connecticut State University.
“When I came here, I went to the university and office of sustainability and said ‘What do you think about these,’” said Kwolek, “and they loved it.”
According Brad Crerar, the director of the Adanti Student Center, about 80,000 of used plastic to-go containers were being thrown out every year.
The new containers, Kwolek said, are a one-time charge of $5.
“As long they bring one back, they get a new one,” said Kwolek.
A student could theoretically keep a container from freshman until their senior year as long they remember to bring it with them, Kwolek said. If a student were to break their container, they are eligible for one replacement.
“It’s washed, rinsed and sanitized in a dish-washing machine,” said Kwolek.
The containers, he said are rinsed at 181 degrees in order to clean any excess food particles and potential bacteria.
According to Kwolek, all food bacteria is cleared at 165 degrees.
Aidan Coleman, SGA co-chair of food services advisory committee, said the hygiene process is similar to what most people would expect at any restaurant.
“They take the importance of health, very, very importantly,” said Coleman.
Conn. Hall gets inspected by the health department, he said, and there are health codes that have to be abided by.
Under Kwolek’s leadership it has been “very particular to do it correctly.
TJ Thomas, a sophomore and studio art major, said she started using the container because she does not particularly enjoy sitting down to eat in Conn. Hall, but the main reason was the re-usability.
“So, there’s so many containers I keep throwing away,” said Thomas, “I hate it.”
Thomas was not upset with the transition to the new containers, and said she thought they were perfect.
Students biggest complaint about the new containers is having to plan their day around possibly getting a to-go plate before heading to class, said Coleman.
“[You] do have to plan out okay how’s my schedule going to look, or do I have time to go back to my room,” said Thomas.
She does have to plan her day in advance as to whether or not she plans to get a to-go plate, but she said it is a small price to pay.
She said the container is light and compact enough to fit in her backpack without getting in the way of other supplies she may need for class.
“We’re not getting rid of the reusable to-go,” said Coleman, “so some creative thinking will have to into a process of how they’re gonna work their way around it.
Photo Credit: August Pelliccio