Reuse Programs in Pitt Dining

Every month, Pitt's Oakland campus uses nearly 50,000 single-use disposable cups for beverages and 225,000 to-go packages for food. The majority of these single-use disposable packaging products are not recyclable and end up in landfill. Plastic pollution and litter have an enormous detrimental environmental impact on our ecosystems. Our goal is to serve half of to-go meals and beverages in reusable containers by 2025, to reduce the use of single-use, non-recyclable to-go packaging.

BYO [Bag]

After more than five years of student initiatives working to reduce plastic bag use on campus, the BYO[Bag] (Bring Your Own Bag) program launched in 2014.

After the first two weeks of each semester, customers are charged $0.25 for every plastic bag they use when shopping at dining locations on campus. You can avoid the fee by BYO[Bag].

50% of the proceeds from the bag fee as well as 50% of the sales from the BYO[Bag] reusable bags sold at QuickZones and the Forbes Street Market are donated to the Pitt Green Fund to support other student sustainability initiatives.

Since the BYO[Bag] program began in 2014, it has prevented the use of more 1.3 million plastic bags from being used. The program has raised $6,495 for the Pitt Green Fund.  BYO[Bag] is also at the University Store on Fifth and The Pitt Shop.

BYO [Mug]

Students, faculty, staff, and visitors are encouraged to use a reusable mug to reduce single-use disposable cup waste and reduce their environmental impact. Customers can save $0.25 on espresso beverages when they use a reusable mug or pay just $0.99 for brewed coffee or tea.

You could save $150 per semester by using a reusable mug for one cup of coffee each day instead of a disposable cup, and you can save even more by using a BYO[Mug] frequency card, available at your nearest Campus Bean Scene location. With the frequency card, order your drink in a reusable mug five times and the sixth drink is on us – just as long as you BYO[Mug]!

Participating locations include:Cathedral Coffee,RxPresso,Hill O'Beans,Cafe Victoria,Common Grounds,University Store Cafe,Side Bar,Cup & ChaucerSimply to-go,Bunsen Brewer, Bits N Bytes, Bottom Line Bistro, GSPH Coffee, and Morning Grounds

Customers are asked to remove the lid of their mug before they hand it to the cashier, and only mugs with lids may be accepted. For safety reasons, we cannot make drinks in glass containers such as Mason jars or in previously-used single-use disposable cups. Reusable mugs must be no larger than 24 ounces.

Together We're Reducing Plastic Waste

With greater awareness about the issues of single-use disposable plastics, Pitt Dining is rolling out new initiatives to reduce waste. At coffee carts across campus we encourage you to order your cold drink without the lid or straw if you’re not using a reusable mug. Just ask your barista. We’re also moving splash sticks behind the bar - ask your barista for a splash stick if you need one. But remember, the best way to reduce your environmental impact when enjoying coffee or tea beverages is to BYO[Mug] instead of using a disposable one.

Choose to Reuse

Every month, Pitt's Oakland campus uses nearly 225,000 single-use disposable to-go containers. The Choose to Reuse reusable container program offers customers the option to get their meal in a reusable container. Diners at the Schenley Cafe in the basement of the William Pitt Union can get their meals from Nicola's Garden, Strutter's, or Culinary Classics in a reusable container. We are working to expand this program across campus to serve 50% of to-go meals in reusable containers by 2025 so look out for green containers coming to your favorite campus dining locations very soon.

To participate, ask your server at Nicola's Garden, Strutter's, or Culinary Classics to serve your meal in the green container. At checkout, you will be charged a one-time 99¢ program fee. Once you've finished your meal, return it to the OZZI machine next to Nicola’s Garden (barcode facing up) and follow the on-screen instructions to collect your token. Be sure to save your token so that next time you won't need to pay the program fee at checkout. By using a reusable container you‘ll save $0.10 on your meal and starting earning a return on the program fee after just ten uses!

Reusable clamshells become more environmentally beneficial at a threshold of 14 uses per container compared to 14 compostable containers used one time each in terms of carbon emissions, energy consumption, and material waste.