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Sodexo, students launch pilot program to reduce waste

By Autumn Gibbons
On January 16, 2014

Sodexo and student leaders have teamed up to start a reusable container program called Ozzi Enterprises. Sophomore Chloe Arnow proposed this new system to Sodexo last summer with the hopes of eliminating all the excess waste produced by Bruff to Go and to save money.

"Bruff to Go represents our best opportunity to eliminate a large amount of waste in a controlled environment; we are projecting a reduction of 51,000 containers from reaching a landfill in the Spring 2014 semester alone," said Emily Weckler, marketing specialist at Tulane University Dining-Uptown. "One machine is located in Bruff to Go for daily users, and another machine is located by the stairs to Bruff Commons Dining Room."

Different schools have implemented similar reusable container systems, and after research, Arnow decided that Ozzi Enterprises is the best fit for Tulane University.

Students will receive two tokens to begin the program. They will have to turn in a token to take a meal from Bruff to Go. When they return their container, the machine will return their token. Students will be charged $5 per missing container.

"[Ozzi Enterprises] is unique in the way that it's a vending-style machine, so the students can put the dirty container into the machine," Arnow said. "The machine scans the barcode, drops the container down, and a token comes up. Students are not responsible for even cleaning their containers or carrying them around."

Before implementing the new program, Weckler said several precautions were taken to help guarantee the effectiveness of changing systems including the Dining Advisory Board presentations, demonstrations and marketing campaigns.

"We conducted an interest survey of current Bruff to Go users," Weckler said. "According to the results, 96.7 percent of respondents felt positively or very positively about participating in the program. Seventy-one percent felt supportive or very supportive about a $5 deposit for the containers."

Arnow said that since students could lose their tokens or misplace them, Ozzi and the Tulane Technical team are working to build an interface that would allow students to swipe their Splash Cards and build credit on their account. Until this is established, the machines will dispose tokens for students in exchange for their containers.

This program will begin at Bruff to Go, but after Tulane and Sodexo work out all the first trial errors, they hope to expand this system to Le Gourmet, the Lavin-Bernick Center and some graduate school buildings.

"We are definitely working toward making Tulane disposable-free," Arnow said. 

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