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To-go container fee at GSU food hall set to increase to $2.50 as part of new “Choose to Reuse” program

Boston University students will now pay $2.50 for disposable to-go containers at some food hall locations in the George Sherman Union starting Feb. 1, as a part of the new “Choose to Reuse” program run by BU Dining Services.

Food Containers
Food containers. Starting Feb. 1 the BU Dining Services will start its new “Choose to Reuse” program which includes an increase in prices of to-go containers at the GSU from $0.75 to $2.50. AMANDA SCHNEIDER/DFP FILE

The new program partners with Grubhub and ReusePass to encourage the BU community to check out a reusable container when placing a to-go order at all food locations in the GSU except Starbucks and Basho, according to the BU Dining Services’s website.

BU Dining Services wrote in an email sent to students on Jan. 24, “by participating in the Choose to Reuse program, you can help Boston University achieve its sustainability goals while also taking steps to protect the environment.”

According to the BU Dining Services website, ReusePass is an application that will allow diners to track containers they have checked out and will tell them when they are due to be returned.

Empty containers are required to be returned within three days of being checked out and can be returned to either two locations in the GSU. Any container not returned within three days will be considered “late” and students will be charged an $8 fee per container.

“BU is one of the first schools in the country offering a mobile ordering-integrated reusable container program for retail dining,” Lexie Raczka, the sustainability director for BU Dining Services, wrote in an email.

Raczka added there are a variety of cost savings associated with the program including, “reduced purchases of compostable disposables and reduced hauling fees for waste disposal,” and it was implemented to allow a “cut down on single-use packaging, while still offering the convenience of ‘to-go.’”

The program is part of BU’s Zero Waste Plan which, “outlines 21 different initiatives that focus on various important aspects of Zero Waste: redesign, reduce, reuse, recycle/compost, culture change and market development,” according to the BU Sustainability website.

The initial plan, released in March 2021, stated that one goal of the plan is to, “over time, explore ways to phase out single-use disposable foodware on all campuses and with retail vendors.”

Jennifer Lambert, a sophomore in the College of General Studies, said the program is “good to reduce waste.”

“I do think it’s a good idea that they are raising the price for the to-go containers because I think it will significantly help people who choose (to use disposable containers,)” Lambert said. “I would probably stop using to-go containers because, if it works, ($2.50) is a big price.”

Aaron Fox, a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences, said he will use the new policy and commented it’s a “really smart move from BU.”

“I think environmental issues are something that is way more prevalent in recent years, especially now,” Fox said. “Kudos to BU for this, this is a step in the right direction.”

Alex Maurillo, a junior in CAS said he would, “personally (still) go for the plates” instead of the reusable container.

“$2.50 will actually prevent people from (buying single-use disposable containers),” Maurillo said.

BU’s Zero Waste Plan noted the plan is expected to bring a positive impact on sustainability as it reduces waste and increases efficiency.

“We hope to expand Choose to Reuse to other retail locations and are also working on Zero Waste offerings for catering,” Raczka wrote.


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