Rollins Dining Services has reinstituted the use of OZZI containers at the Cornell Campus Center. Students have had mixed opinions on the matter, from appreciating the attempt for better sustainability on campus to questioning the efficacy of OZZI’s system.
According to Carolina Ossa, marketing manager for Dining Services, the OZZI system was first instituted at Rollins in August 2017. The system was designed to be a more sustainable alternative to single-use disposable containers in dining areas. The OZZI website says that, to date, the company has saved approximately 25 million disposable containers.
To use the system, students begin by paying $6 for an O2GO-branded container. Ossa said that the cost reflects the wholesale cost of the containers directly from OZZI, so the college is not making any profit on these sales. In addition to the standard food containers, students can use O2GO soup containers and drink cups.
Upon finishing using a container, students can return it to the OZZI machine, which will read a barcode and return a token that can be redeemed for another O2GO container.
The OZZI system varies in cost depending on the college. Based on reports from student newspapers at Vanderbilt University and Marquette University, the initial cost of the machine is between $19,500 and $26,000.
Additional costs are required for extra containers and tokens. Ossa said that containers last for approximately 25-50 uses and that many containers are not returned, so Dining Services is “constantly purchasing additional containers.”
In an email sent out by Rollins Dining Services on Sept. 3, it was shared that Rollins spent $50,000 for 230,000 containers in the past. The email also mentioned that the disposable containers created 46,000 tons of waste.
Ossa said that “overall feedback is good” and that “there is a big group of students, faculty, and staff who support the initiative as it reduces the amount of waste.”
Some students are not sure if this system is the most sustainable. Katie Stagner (‘25) said, “With all the water they’re using to clean them, I don’t know, are they really better for the environment?”
Kayla Poholek (‘25) shares Stagner’s concerns. “I don’t like the coin [to redeem for the new O2GO container] — I feel like I’m at Chuck E. Cheese.” Additionally, Poholek shared concerns for higher labor costs associated with cleaning O2GO containers, as well as the impact of using plastic containers as opposed to compostable paper ones.
Students can find the OZZI dispensing machines on the first floor of the Cornell Campus Center.