Northwestern Dining launches more sustainable to-go container program


Daily file photo by Seeger Gray

Northwestern has saved about 22,000 disposable to-go containers.

Iris Swarthout, Assistant Campus Editor

Northwestern Dining will distribute new green OZZI to-go containers starting Jan. 31. 

The decision was made after students failed to return more than 12,000 purple OZZI containers in fall 2021, according to Krista Brown, sustainability and community engagement manager for Northwestern Dining, in a news release. 

“(The OZZIs) likely ended up in the landfill, where they will take up to 450 years to decompose,” Brown said in the release. “We are hopeful the new Green OZZI program will encourage container returns so we can maintain the integrity and purpose of the OZZI program.”

In the 2020–21 academic year when in-person dining was not an option, purple OZZI containers were distributed to students free of charge. Prior to last year and at the start of fall 2021, the purple OZZI containers were handed out with less stringent return policies.

On Monday, NU students will have access to one OZZI credit per Wildcard to check out a green OZZI container at a dining hall. If the container is never returned and a student attempts to use another green OZZI container, $7 will be charged to their account. 

While the $7 charge is meant to hold students accountable for returning their containers to dining halls after use, Compass Group District Marketing Manager Sophia Bamiatzis said the program remains a free resource for to-go meals in the news release.

According to NU Dining’s website, sustainability is at the core of its mission. The organization has used products from smaller Midwestern farms and has aimed to reduce energy, water and waste in the name of environmental efficiency. NU Dining also composts food, has transitioned to biodegradable utensils and celebrates Stop Food Waste Day annually in April. 

“We are fully committed to optimizing a sustainable dining program,” Bamiatzis said. “We thank the Northwestern community in advance for the support of our new OZZI program.

Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: @swarthout_iris

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