Campus cards power reusable container systems in campus dining
An automated kiosk, meanwhile, is placed in the dining hall and other strategic locations where students can return used takeout containers. For the student, the process couldn’t be simpler, as they need only insert the reusable container into the kiosk’s front slot with the container’s barcode facing up, and retrieve the OZZI token for the next container.
Each kiosk is 36” x 30” x 72”, holds 125 reusable eco-containers, 200 return tokens, and occupies less than 12 square feet of floor space.
And at this point, I know what you’re thinking … Tokens?
One unusual caveat to OZZI’s kiosk system is that it has traditionally leveraged metal tokens as the default means of container reconciliation. This introduces an unnecessary complication to the process, as tokens simply don’t make sense on college campuses where card systems can be leveraged to make container return and checkout a breeze.
Merced paves new roads
The metal token problem was one of the first aspects of the OZZI system that was overhauled at the University of California, Merced – one of the first campuses on the West Coast to adopt the solution. Abraham Cereno, Associate Director, CatCard Program and Application Systems at UC Merced, identified the need to integrate the OZZI system with the university’s existing campus card infrastructure in order to get the best out of the solution.
Cereno worked together with OZZI personnel to integrate the company’s kiosk with UC Merced’s campus card system provided by CBORD. Cereno and the rest of the Catcard office team completed the full integration, tracking, managing, monitoring, reporting, and mobile app support in-house. At the conclusion of the integration, UC Merced was first institution to achieve campus card integration with the OZZI system.
As part of the card integration with OZZI, Cereno and the CatCard team took the program a step further by tethering OZZI account balances with the university’s myCatPerks mobile app. This introduced a rewards/loyalty facet to the initiative, and it enables students to view their OZZI balance – the number of virtual tokens they have left – and see how many pounds of waste they have saved individually, as well as the campus’ running total.
UC Merced’s OZZI initiative officially began in the fall of 2012. In the year prior, the university used 250,000 take-out containers of various sizes before making the OZZI’s reusable containers the only option for the future.
The initial iteration of Merced’s deployment required a first-time user to buy into the program at $5.00 for their first OZZI container. Students could then visit a kiosk to return the used container, and receive either a metal token for the next container or an eToken on their meal plan. If at the end of the year, the user still has a metal token or eToken left, they would get the initial $5 buy in back as a credit to their meal plan account.