Binghamton University has set an end-of-life date for its single use to-go containers on campus, with a planned implementation of the OZZI system in January. The move to OZZI’s reusable container system is driven by the university’s desire to boost its sustainability efforts and will provide every student on a campus board plan with a free buy-in to the program.
As reported by Binghamton student publication, Pipe Dream, the university’s Student Culinary Council and Binghamton University Dining Services together decided on the OZZI system which consists of a return machine and reusable plastic to-go containers.
Each student that purchases a meal plan will receive one free OZZI token which can be exchanged for a takeout container for use at campus dining halls. Students will be given a clip-on token holder for safe keeping. Once the student is done with the dirty container they simply return it to the OZZI machine to receive a new token for future use.
Binghamton is making the OZZI machines readily available to students in all of its undergraduate living communities. In total, the initiative will see five OZZI machines deployed across campus where students can return their plastic containers and receive their next token.
Sustainability is the primary reason behind Binghamton’s use of the OZZI system. “One of the beauties of our meal plans is the ability of students to take their food out,” said Jim Ruoff, resident district manager for BUDS, in a Pipe Dream interview. “I think students like it — they use it — I want to make that more environmentally friendly.”
“We use thousands of these carryout containers a week that end up in our waste stream,” Ruoff added. “I would love to cut that to zero. That’s my dream. I think that would be a real positive for our community.”
The OZZI system has been implemented at a number of other colleges and universities. Many of OZZI’s university clients are leveraging the metal token method for checking out the containers, though the University of California Merced has experienced success in integrating OZZI with its campus card system and leveraging the student ID card for container checkout.
Binghamton officials hope to have the OZZI initiative running at full capacity by the first day of the spring semester, January 19.