More than 10 million tons of plastic debris are deposited into oceans each year, leaving over 1 million marine animals killed due to plastic pollution, according to Plastic Oceans. Plastic garbage pollutes waterways and has a significant negative impact on the environment. By implementing an (RTC Program) Reusable To-Go Container Program at your College or University you can help reduce this number significantly. Let’s look at 6 steps to follow to help you launch an RTC Program, and which RTC Program we think is the best.
Step 1: Know your school
Before you begin, you will want to set aside some time to understand the political, social, and organizational background at your school. Is the administration committed to long-term environmental goals, for example? Are there any student organizations that are currently working on sustainability-related issues that could help assist? It's crucial to be fully prepared and aware of what you're getting yourself into ahead of time so you can ask the correct questions. However, don't underestimate the challenges of dealing with school bureaucracy.
Step 2: Determine who makes the decisions
Set up a meeting with anyone from the campus sustainability office, the cafeteria or dining hall, operations office, and/or the procurement office who is willing to speak with you regarding starting up an RTC Program. It is important to find out who makes the executive decisions, speak with them directly and find out what matters to them the most.
Step 3: Choose a dining hall, cafeteria, or restaurant
Head over to restaurants that are owned and operated by your university. Regional and national chains typically have long-term contracts in place, make national choices, and can even operate outside of the school's rules and regulations. RTC programs tend to do the best at cafeterias and dining halls with salad or hot entrée bars.
Step 4: Get your food code certification ready
Restaurants are prohibited from providing food in a container given by a client under the federal food code. However, an RTC program does not operate in this manner, and explaining how RTCs work to the proper health authorities can make the approval process much easier. To ease any concerns that your school's occupational safety and environmental health department may have about the safety of a reusable to-go container program, you'll need to work with them.
Step 5: Create a budget and apply for funds
It costs money to launch an RTC program. You will need to purchase takeout containers, a few return receptacles, storage crates, exchange tokens, among other things. However, as more people implement the RTC program, you will quickly see a return on your investment, and the cafeteria will no longer need to buy disposable containers.
Step 6: Design and launch program
Lastly you will want to design and launch your RTC Program, with a few things in mind. It is important to make sure you cover all your bases when doing so. You’ll want to make sure you select the correct reusable to-go containers for your program. When it comes to creating and launching an RTC program, there are a lot of considerations to make. A lot happens behind the scenes that is frequently overlooked. How many containers, for example, will be required to meet your anticipated demand? Who will oversee the cleaning and storage operations? Monitoring and collecting old containers from return receptacles, as well as ensuring that the receptacles are easily accessible? These are all crucial things to keep in mind when designing and launching your program.
Choosing the Right Container for your Program
You can easily create a closed loop system in your dining program with MyGo reusable to-go containers, which starts when students register for their meal plan. Students receive or purchase a MyGo Container when they choose their meal plan, which they can use for their campus meals. They are given a token and/or key card at the start of school that they will use to receive their MyGo. The students can then choose which meal to fill up their MyGo to take wherever they wish to. Students will drop their MyGo in one of the MyGo receptacles on campus once they have finished eating. Once the containers are collected from the receptacles, they are sanitized, dried, and stored until their next use.
According to Papuga, the Unit Director at NIU, when launching their RTC Program with MyGo Containers™ it was a huge success. Students can grab a meal in between classes and take it with them if they have short breaks around mealtimes. Faculty appreciate it, he said, because they can have a meal in their offices or outside. They appreciate the selections and affordable prices, but sometimes prefer a quiet moment where they are not eating with students.