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Eco2Go is a University Housing & Dining Services program that provides customers with reusable take-out containers. The goal is to prevent plastic and other types of disposable, single-use food container waste from reaching the landfill. We estimate that Eco2Go kept 400,000 disposable containers from the landfill in its first year alone, and to-date has saved more than a million containers. While dining in is the most eco-friendly approach for your meal, Eco2Go reusable containers are a sustainable alternative for to-go orders.
For more info, see our FAQ below.
1. How clean does my Eco2Go container need to be when I return it?
If you can rinse it out, that's great! But mainly we just need it scraped out, free of food debris, to make the cleaning process faster and more efficient. Empty containers into the trash unless composting is available in your building. Returning Eco2Gos promptly, within 24 hours if possible, extends their lifespan and saves our staff from having to deal with particularly foul containers.
2. What locations use Eco2Go?
Currently, we use Eco2Go containers for take-out orders in the three main dining centers (Marketplace West, McNary Dining, Arnold Dining).
3. Can I just return my container to the dish return in a dining center?
Definitely! If you're able to dine in, that's the most sustainable option of all, saving the Eco2Go from additional wear & tear and saving you from having to remember to bring it back to a return bin.
4. Can I return my Eco2Go in a Starship robot?
No. Containers need to be returned in designated bins and return areas, so they get promptly cleaned and reused for future deliveries.
5. Can I still use Eco2Go if I live off campus?
Yes, they're available for all patrons who order to-go from a dining center, but still need to be returned to a designated bin or dish return on campus.
6. What happens if I lose or break my Eco2Go?
Containers aren't assigned to individual users. We ask patrons to return the containers in good working condition so they have the longest lifespan and lowest environmental impact possible. But eventually they may wear out, and will need to be discarded to the landfill.
7. Who do I contact if I see Eco2Go containers piled up away from a bin?
8. How are Eco2Gos collected and cleaned?
UHDS dining staff collect containers each day and return them to dining centers where they are washed and sanitized, just like all the serviceware in our restaurants.
9. How sustainable are Eco2Gos?
Research into life cycle assessments that compare reusable containers vs. single-use disposables shows that after 16-18 repeated uses, the reusable container is increasingly beneficial to the environment, in areas such as air pollution and energy demands (in production and transportation), and other factors involved in climate change. With proper care for our containers, returning them promptly in good condition, we can make a big impact! (For more detailed research, read this Life Cycle Initiative report produced by the United Nations Environment Programme, 2020.)
10. Why did Eco2Go go on pause?
Like many things recently, it's pandemic related. During the onset of COVID-19, it was unclear how the virus was transmitted, so in an abundance of caution we stopped delivering reusable containers. Additionally, the pandemic caused staffing shortages that made the program too difficult to restart until now. Fortunately, the time is right to bring back this impactful initiative. We appreciate your help in making Eco2Go a successful, sustainable approach to campus dining!