This research paper addresses the implementation of a reusable to-go container pilot program at Berkshire Dining Commons using an internal management system with 1,000 reusable to-go containers. This is a system where participating students receive a credit on their UCard which they can exchange on entrance to the dining hall to get a clean container. Then they can use the container as they please and return it to the dish return for their UCard credit back. Dining services will clean the used containers and return them into circulation. The purpose of our project is to eliminate single use containers. UMass Amherst spends $278,378 (6) over a five year period on these single use containers at Berkshire dining commons and transporting them to landfills alone (3). We would spend about $8,200 (10) for one time implementation costs along with about $420 on water usage (8), and an estimated $4,095 on broken containers, which will give us a net savings of $265,563 over five years, accounting for all costs and savings. This will also reduce trash by about 20 metric tons (3) by eliminating single use containers. Not to mention the 100 metric tons (3 and 9) of carbon emissions we will avoid over a five year period from reduced transportation of trash and the manufacturing of the single use containers. This proposal will have the most significant and positive impacts on campus sustainability in the next five years.
Second place, Undergraduate Sustainability Research Award (2020)