A UC Merced program that has replaced one-use take-out containers with reusable boxes was featured Wednesday in a video on a popular news website.
The campus started its program in 2010, according to Vox, to reduce the waste created by roughly 350,000 to-go meals served every year. The effort is one of a number of programs used by campuses in the University of California system.
Julie Sagusay, food services manager at UC Merced, told Vox that students were eager to adopt the program. The difficult part was figuring out how to collect the reusable boxes, she said.
The campus essentially checks the boxes out like a library book, and students return them to a drop box before they are cleaned and used again, according to the video.
"Although the cost up front is larger, on the long run you're saving a lot of money," she says in the video.
Along with saving money, the effort is about saving the planet. About 30 percent of greenhouse gases, which contribute to climate change, produced in the US come from the production of items we throw away, according to M. Sanjanyan, a visiting researcher at UCLA.
"This kind of mindless consumption has a really big impact on climate change," he says in the video. "It takes a lot of energy to produce single-use items, these things we use only for a few minutes or a few seconds before they become trash."
Also featured in the video are attempts at UC Irvine to reduce water bottle waste. Sanjayan goes on to challenge viewers to make small changes in their daily lives to reduce climate change.
The videos are part of a series called "Climate Lab" that the UC system does in conjunction with Vox, according to UC Merced staffers.