University of Wisconsin–Madison

Badgers Live Sustainably

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How does the reusable to-go container program work?

    You will receive a container token in your room when you move into your residence hall. Go to a University Housing Dining Market of your choice and request to get your food to-go. A Dining Team Member will place your meal in a reusable to-go container. Upon check-out, the cashier will request your token. When you are finished with your meal, return your empty and clean container to a vending machine located in the Dining Market of your choice. Once the container is placed in the slot, you will receive a new token to use for your next meal.

  • What if I lose my token?

    New tokens can be purchased at each Dining Market for a cost of $5.00 each.

  • I never received a token. What do I do?

    Contact University Housing Dining & Culinary Services main office by visiting them in the lower level of Gordon Dining & Event Center, or by phone at 608-262-0057, or by email at

  • Can I redeem my token for cash?

    No, tokens have no cash value and can only be used to redeem for to-go containers.

  • Why can't I reuse my container without having it washed by University Housing Dining?

    For health and safety reasons, only properly cleaned and sanitized containers handled by University Housing Dining staff can be used in our Dining Markets. This protects everyone’s health and safety.

  • What if I would like multiple containers?

    You may purchase as many additional tokens as you would like at a cost of $5.00 each.

Eat well. Live well.

Housing strives to ensure the food that fuels our residents is healthy for them and the environment.

  • Surplus food is redistributed through the Campus Kitchens Project, Food Recovery Network, and Open Seat Food Pantry.
  • Vegetarian options are available at each meal to provide students with healthy, low carbon choices
  • All Housing to-go food containers are compostable!
    • Our World Centric compostable to-go items are made from non-polluting and non-toxic and renewable resources and are domestically manufactured with silver grass from Columbus, OH
    • 25% of profits are donated to create positive environmental change
    • 100% of carbon produced in production is offset by giving to carbon offsetting organizations
  • A waste oil boiler assists in heating Gordon Dining and Event Center’s water with recycled vegetable oil. One gallon of oil heats nearly 250 gallons of hot water.
  • Gordon Dining and Event Center’s green roof and rain gardens prevent runoff into local waterways
  • Software is used to inventory and order items to prevent food waste by calculating the amount of food needed for production
  • Our a la carte system reduces waste in comparison to all-you-can-eat buffet service
  • Industrial sized garbage disposals prepare food waste for composting
  • Our large batch kitchen prepares and packages bulk food orders at one time to increase efficiency and shelf-life

Edible Landscapes strives to alleviate food insecurity and introduces students to sustainable agriculture. Gardens are loaded with herbs and veggies available to anyone on campus – check them out at Cole, Sellery, and Zoe Bayliss.

Consume less meat and dairy products

Try the 5/2 diet: eat vegetarian or vegan 5 days a week, and continue your usual diet 2 days a week

Compost food waste

Compost bins are available in all residence hall kitchens and trash/recycling rooms. Other compost locations are available across campus as well.

Eat greener meat when you do eat meat

Look for: grass fed or pasture-raised, lean cuts, no antibiotics/hormones, local, certified organic. Eat in season and buy local to reduce transportation emissions

Skip processed and packaged food

Processed foods have a larger carbon footprint than their non-processed alternatives. Cook from scratch, choose the least processed alternative, and avoid packaged items

Don’t waste food – eat leftovers and meal prep

Wasting food means wasting the energy and water used to grow, process, and transport the food. 30-40% of all food produced in U.S. is wasted. When you eat at a restaurant, bring your own to-go container

Conserve smart

Use the Environmental Working Group’s shopping guide app to help you make healthy choices and avoid food with pesticides. Scan the barcode or look up items by category!

Local Dining Partners

  • Local Food & Ingredients
    • Babcock Dairy
    • Bagels Forever
    • Carr Valley Cheese
    • Johnsonville
    • Parrfection Produce
    • Roth Cheese
    • People’s Bakery
    • Sugar River Dairy
    • Simple Soyman
  • Local/Wisconsin Manufacturers
    • Brakebush
    • Neesvigs
    • V. Marchese Produce
    • Best Maid Cookie Company
    • Klements Sausage Company
    • Sargento Cheese
    • Elegant Foods
    • Grande Cheese Company