Spotlight - Chews to Reuse

Cal Dining’s “Chews to Reuse” team developed a program that lets students take food to go in reusable containers, bringing the organization one step closer to its zero-waste goal by 2020, while also satisfying student demand for sustainable practices and lower costs. Senior Monica Harnoto, a sustainability intern at Cal Dining, was looking for an alternative to compostable to-go containers which often ended up in the landfill. Cal Dining leaders gave Harnoto the go-ahead to develop a plan, then launched a pilot program.

The team developed a system for students to dispose of their used containers and pick up clean ones and everyone from cashiers to dishwashers did their part to make the program work. During the pilot phase, 82% of those who took meals to-go used Chews to Reuse containers instead of compostable containers. The project was recently highlighted by the Environmental Protection Agency, which recognized UC Berkeley for its efforts to reduce food waste. In addition, Harnoto received a sustainability award for her work on Chews to Reuse from the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Sustainability at the Sustainability Summit on April 22nd.

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