UW-Platteville dining services goes green

Campus introduces OZZI containers to reduce its carbon footprint

The University of Wisconsin-Platteville has started heading in a new direction when it comes to eating on campus. If students walk into the Crossing in the Markee Pioneer Student Center, they will notice green plastic boxes. These are called OZZI boxes. Campus acquired them to reduce the university’s carbon footprint. 

According to the University Network at tun.com, “Common takeout containers, made out of plastic, styrofoam and aluminum, carry a hefty carbon footprint and are often difficult to recycle, making them increasingly damaging to the environment.”

“The need for change with to-go containers has been on the table for a while. The number of containers staff saw when hauling out the trash was very noticeable and a waste audit during Recyclemania confirmed much of the waste at Pioneer Crossing was from to-go containers,” UW-Platteville Registered Dietician Stephanie Young said. 

The university is using the OZZI boxes as a chance to reduce the campus carbon footprint in order to make the campus more sustainable. 

“The OZZI system came across our radar from an email about other universities using and showing success with it. The OZZI system was appealing with its convenience and sanitation record. It not only supports waste minimization but also meets health code requirements, reduces operational costs and generates usage reports,” Young said. 

Because the to-go containers are so harmful to the environment, the campus has purchased fewer of them in hopes for success with the OZZI box program. 

Young went on to explain that the university has already purchased fewer disposable to-go containers. Last year, UW-Platteville had purchased 13,600, but because of the new OZZI boxes, they only purchased 4,800 disposable containers this year.

The university is encouraging students to use the OZZI box. They have made it easy and affordable to get students started in the program. 

“If a student already has their token, given to them when they move into their residence hall if they are on a meal plan, they ask the server for their meal in a green container, and at the cash register they present their token.  If someone doesn’t have a meal plan or is a staff or faculty member, they ask the server for their meal in a green container and pay the one-time $4.00 charge at the cash register. You can return your empty container to the OZZI machine and you receive your token back for the next time you use a green OZZI container and the cycle continues,” said Young. 

You can find the OZZI box return machine in the Markee Pioneer Student Center next to the Crossing.