On the go? Taking your lunch with you and conscientious environmental practice merge thanks to a new partnership with the Food Literacy Project and Harvard University Dining Services. Starting this February, Dudley House began piloting a reusable container program in Dudley Café aimed at reducing excess waste from disposable food containers and packaging.

Graduate and undergraduate students on the meal plan and regular Dudley customers may claim a token from the café, which can then be redeemed with the chef preparing lunch. Meals are then packed in a convenient plastic “clamshell.” When plastic containers are returned to Dudley, tokens are given back for use toward the next meal to-go. Customers participating in this program will not need to wash or clean containers before returning—the café staff handles all the dirty work so that proper sanitization steps are taken. During the pilot program, the token exchange system will only be available during lunchtime in the spring 2013 semester. Depending on impact and engagement, the Food Literacy Project and Harvard University Dining Services hope to consider opportunities to expand the program for the new school year.

Food Literacy Project Coordinator Louisa Denison reports that Dudley Café had more than 100 people sign-up for the program in the first week. “Although Dudley Café offers compostable to-go ware, reusable containers are the way to go. They are sturdy, leak less, and save resources. In the coming months, we’re hoping to see these green containers all over campus,” says Denison.

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