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Sustainability at Berklee
Learn about the to-go container, reycling and composting programs in the Berklee Caf.

To-Go Containers

Reusable to-go containers provide a more sustainable way to take your food to go while also helping to divert waste from landfills.

How it works:

  1. Visit the Berklee Caf to buy your reusable container for $5.00 (cash only).
  2. Receive your reusable container.  Swipe a meal and leave your Berklee ID with the cashier while filling up your container.
  3. Take your meal to go (cannot use for dine-in).
  4. The next time you return, bring your EMPTY container back to the cashier at the Caf.  They will issue you a clean container or a rain check for one to use at a later time.
  5. Deposit your EMPTY “used” container in the designated drop off bin located near the Cashier’s station.
  6. Take your newly issued container and fill it up!
  7. Repeat steps 2 – 6!


  • Disposable to-go containers that end up in landfills can take thousands and thousands of years to degrade.
  • Our reusable to-go containers are made from #5 plastic, which can be recycled at the end of the containers life.
  • The reusable to-go containers are BPA free and are also microwave safe for reheating. 


Q: Are disposable containers available to students who do not want to purchase a reusable container?
A: No, disposable containers are not available at the Caf, the only option offered is the reusable container.

Q: Who can purchase a reusable to-go container?
A: Only meal plan students can purchase a reusable to-go container.

Q: Do I have to wash my container?
A: No, the Caf washes and sanitizes all reusable containers and gives you a clean one in exchange for a used one.

Q: What if I want to return my used container but do not want to take my next meal to-go?
A: The cashier will issue you a rain check instead of a clean container. The rain check can be redeemed for a clean container the next time you wish to take your meal to go. 

Composting and Recycling

The Berklee Caf composts all pre- and post-consumer food waste. We have partnered with Waste Management, who collects our compost and recyclables. We also utilize a “single stream” recycling system where all our recyclables can be sorted into one bin and do not need to be separated.

What is composting?

Composting is a biological process that takes organic materials and turns them into nutrient-rich matter than can be used as an alternative to synthetic fertilizers.

What can be composted?

Any leftover food scraps, napkins, paper products and compostable plastics made from plant-based materials.

What can be recycled?

Plastics labeled 1-7, glass, cans, aluminum, paper and cardboard.  All items to be recycled should be empty, clean and/or rinsed out.

Why should I compost and recycle?

Composting organic materials and recycling products are great alternatives to throwing them in a landfill. Materials thrown in a landfill serve no useful purpose, while compost can be used to safely fertilize crops and recycled materials can be turned into new products. 

Sustainability at 160

160 is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certified Silver by the US Green Building Council. Some of the new, sustainable features of this building include:

● The dining chairs are made from 80% recycled aluminum. Aluminum is a metal that is very easy to recycle and and also very durable. Roughly 75% of aluminum made since 1888 is still in use today thanks to recycling, reusing and repurposing.
● We now use a machine called a pulp extractor which grinds up food waste into small pieces, removes the water and can reduce trash volumes 8:1.  The pulp is picked up by Waste Management and then taken to a farm in Hamilton, Massachusetts to be turned into organic fertilizer.  The process for pulping is shown below:

Other Sustainability Initiatives:
● Our napkins are made from 100% recycled content.
● We recycle our fryer oil. Recycled fryer oil can be converted into biofuel and replace traditional diesel gasoline to power trucks and heat homes.
● Our shelled eggs are sourced from cage free hens that are not kept in battery cages.
● Our “Mostly Meatless Monday” has evolved into having numerous vegetarian/vegan options every day! Plant based meals have a lower carbon footprint as compared to ones made with meat.
● We dine trayless! A study conducted by ARAMARK at 25 colleges and universities found that dining trayless led to a 25-30% reduction in food waste, per person.
● Our floor cleaner is Green Seal Certified. Green Seal is a non-profit 3rd party certification group who awards certification to products meeting certain sustainability standards.
● Our disinfectant we use is fragrance free and made with no added color.