Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 51.72
Liaison Alex Frank
Submission Date Aug. 1, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Wisconsin-Madison
IN-24: Innovation A

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Alex Frank
Sustainability Analyst
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Ticket to Take Out

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:

In February of 2017, Office of Sustainability student staff conducted a waste audit at Gordon Dining & Event Center, which is a multi-use building operated by University Housing that serves students, faculty, and staff. The Office of Sustainability team found that many of the compostable to-go containers distributed in the building were being placed in the trash bins. This audit prompted University Housing to investigate how they could make their to-go service more sustainable. The result, inspired by several other universities, was the “Ticket to Take Out” initiative, which transitioned the to-go container system from a well-intentioned but flawed compostable program to a fully integrated reusable solution.

Participation in Ticket to Take Out begins when dining patrons receive a token, which they exchange for a reusable container when ordering food to-go. Users then return empty containers to a vending machine at one of five campus dining markets, where the containers are professionally cleaned and re-used. When a container is dropped into the return vending machine, the user receives another token so that they may obtain a new reusable container the next time they get to-go food in a dining facility. Additionally, tokens may also be purchased if users lose their token or would like more than one.

UW-Madison's program is unique because all students living in University Housing Residence Halls, and any UW-Madison Faculty or Staff who purchase a Faculty/Staff Meal Plan, automatically participate in the Ticket to Take Out program. In addition, anyone on campus may buy into the Ticket to Take Out program. In this way, UW-Madison is making sustainability more accessible and more central to campus culture while cutting waste stream costs and reducing problems with waste stream behavior.

In the first year of implementation, the program resulted in a reduction of 368,950 disposable containers and yielded over $55,000 in savings. The success of the program was recognized by the university with a 2019 UW-Madison Administrative Improvement Award (https://www.vc.wisc.edu/administrative-improvement-awards-2/).

Which of the following impact areas does the innovation most closely relate to? (select up to three):
Food & Dining

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :

The website URL where information about the innovation is available :
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

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