OZZI box program reduces waste, promotes sustainability at Café 65

September 26, 2017

Sarah Bubke

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    Café 65 allows students to save money and reduce waste with the implementation of OZZI boxes.

    OZZI boxes are plastic, reusable to-go boxes. When a customer orders a meal at any food station at Café 65, they can ask the server to pack the meal into an OZZI box instead of a regular to-go container. Cafe 65 offers the OZZI program to reduce waste and the space that disposable containers take up.

    Cafe 65 will host an informational table about the OZZI program outside of Cafe 65 on Sept. 27.

    The first time a customer uses an OZZI box, they are charged a one-time fee of $4.50. Polly Knutson, marketing manager for Dining and Hospitality Services, called the boxes an investment.

    “It’s a small investment not to use Styrofoam, which takes probably 30 years to compost,” she said.

    According to Knutson, Styrofoam containers take up a massive amount of storage, whereas OZZI boxes do not.

    “Anything we buy, as far as packaging goes, we are always trying to source first biodegradable, if it is a disposable packaging material. If we can’t do that, then it’s recyclable.”

    The boxes are returned at the OZZI machine at Café 65 and do not need to be cleaned before they are returned.

    When the container is returned, the customer receives an OZZI token, which gives the customer 50 cents off their next meal, they can redeem for a clean box the next time they eat at Café 65. If the coin is lost, the customer must purchase a new container for the full price.      

    “It’s kind of fun to see what we get back sometimes. It’s not always the most pleasant of jobs cleaning the OZZI boxes. But we are more than happy to do it to reduce the waste,” Knutson said.

    According to senior psychology major Rebecca Teague, a Café 65 student employee, a lot of students lose their OZZI coins. Still, the boxes have been well-received by users.

    “I think people like it, obviously. It saves you 50 cents every meal that you get here,” said Teague.

    Some students, however, disagree with some aspects of the OZZI box program. Kelsey Brostrom, a freshman early childhood education major, does not think the boxes are worth the cost.

    “I don’t use the OZZI boxes because I don’t want to pay the $5 to start, and I mostly eat at the Lodge,” Brostrom said.

    Freshman biochemistry major Olivia Evans also does not think she will participate in the program.

    “I wouldn’t use it because we do not eat here very often, so it’s not worth it,” Evans said.

    Knutson is aware that students may find Cafe 65’s sustainability programs expensive, but explains that costs have come down over the years.

    “There is a little bit of a higher cost with sustainable programs. In the past ten years, I have actually seen it come down, especially at colleges,” Knutson said.

    Knutson hopes that more students will take advantage of the OZZI program in the future.

    “I would like to see it become a bigger program, because it is a good one. We have the materials to do it. I am about anything that will reduce our waste.” Knutson said.

    “I love this generation, because they are looking to eat healthier, which is being sustainable and feeding our bodies correctly. They are looking at sustainable programs. They are really committed to save the Earth, which is really neat.”

CORRECTION: The Scribe printed that an OZZI box costs $5.50. The boxes cost $2 a piece.