Fields’ Dining Hall introduces new, reusable eco-friendly containers, to reduce waste

Photo of student scooping food into eco-econtainer
Isabelle Atha / The Mossy Log

Fields Dining Hall, on Jan. 30, introduced green “eco-tainers,” which became available for students to check out.

The program was implemented in an effort to provide students with a free and accessible way to take food from Fields Dining Hall, while reducing theconsumption of disposable tableware.

In an interview, a food service worker from Field’s dining hall said, “It’s a better alternative than paper plates and bowls” and “these new eco- friendly takeout containers are going to cut down on the amount of waste the Bon produces.”

The containers are free only to on-campus students. The Lewis & Clark website states that “non-residents may purchase carabiners/boxes for $5.” Replacements for lost or damaged containers will cost the same amount.

The process starts with students picking up a carabiner from The Office of Campus Living to take out food from the dining hall. To obtain the containers, students can pick up a carabiner at the Campus Living office during its normal hours of business in Room 112 on the bottom floor of Roberts Hall, in the former Maggie’s Cafe.

To use the containers, students bring the carabiner to the Field’s Dining Hall and switch their carabiner out for a container when students swipe their card. After that, they bring back the empty containers and switch the out for either another clean container or for another carabiner if they do not wish to carry the box around. No need to wash the containers before bringing them back in, Bon Appétit will take care of that.

“Eco Containers are handled by the workers in the dish pit, where they get put through a high-powered dishwasher to be sanitized and cleaned,” the employee states. 

There is no time limit in which students will have to bring the containers back. However, they suggest that if students intend on keeping them for an extended period of time, that they empty and give the containers a bit of a rinse for safety purposes, as “it takes just 24 to 48 hours for mold to germinate and grow”, said the Eco-container website.

LC is committed to sustainability as well as informing and supporting its students as they make environmental choices for themselves. The containers will last a long time and are large enough to hold a full meal as you take it on the go. Students no longer have to worry about bringing paper plates, or buying their own reusable tupperware that can be costly and take time and energy to clean. 

For most of last year, students used brown boxes to carry out their food, as the dining halls were closed for COVID-19 safety reasons. Due to the change, trash cans on campus were frequently full or overflowing. 

As of last week, over 375 containers were distributed, totalling over 25% of the resident population. LC is able to limit waste and the paper plates that were once a staple of the Bon.

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