Aramark dining services will be implementing a cost of 50 cents per to-go box starting in the Fall semester. The reasoning behind the decision is that it will bring financial, social and environmental benefits. The boxes that will be used next year will be more environmentally friendly.
Charging a fee for the boxes is a good idea, but the means Aramark will use to determine the number of fees assessed is flawed.
The cafeteria is currently handing out between 2,500 and 3,000 Styrofoam to-go boxes a week. Aramark is concerned that many students are misusing their to-go boxes by either taking one and just staying in the cafeteria to eat there, or eating in the cafeteria and then taking more food in the to-go box before leaving. In a situation like that a student is essentially getting two meals for the price of one which can increase costs across the board for all students.
Also, many students do not properly dispose of their to-go boxes and leave them lying around campus. The boxes are not environmentally friendly so students not cleaning up after themselves is a problem.
Data shows that when other universities started charging for to-go boxes it drastically reduced the number of boxes used by students. It currently costs 27 cents per to-go box. The new to-go boxes cost 75 cents, so the 50 cent charge is to offset that difference.
Other options were considered, such as a permanent plastic to-go container for each student, but were not chosen due to cleanliness and health concerns. Aramark is also considering pre-allocating a number of to-go boxes per individual student based on guest swipes.
While we agree on the social and environmental benefits, there needs to be a certain number allocated per student that is based on something other than guest swipes. A meal in the cafeteria costs over $5 and a to-go box is only worth 75 cents which makes the deal unfair for students.