Badgers Live Sustainably

Ticket to Take Out Program

Dining exclusively uses a reusable to-go container program in order to reduce single-use disposable waste in our Dining facilities. Here’s how it works.  Just follow these 3 easy steps:


When you move into your residence hall, you will receive a token at your check-in location. Bring your token with you to a University Housing Dining Market and grab your food to go.


Enjoy your food on the go. Wherever you go, your container goes.


Drop your clean to-go container into one of the vending machines located at the Dining Markets and grab your token.

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does the reusable to-go container program work?

You will receive a container token at your check-in location when you move into your residence hall. If you are visiting an all-you-care-to eat location, after you pay for your meal upon entry to the market, provide your token or previously used container to the cashier and they will provide you with one clean reusable to-go container to use. You can place whatever you would like in the container, but it must be able to fully close. This means all food items must be able to fit INSIDE the container, they cannot be carried on top. The only exception is you are able to carry out one piece of fruit (apple, banana, orange, pear, etc.) and a cookie or dessert bar.

If you are visiting an a la carte location,  Once in the market at at a specific venue, 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.

After you have finished your meal, return your empty to-go container into one of the Ticket to Take Out vending machines at Four Lakes, Liz’s, Rheta’s, or Carson’s Markets to receive a new token to use for another time. At Gordon Ave. and Lowell Markets, simply provide your empty used container to the cashier upon entry and they will provide you with a clean one to use.

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.

Can I keep and use my container if I move out of the residence halls?

Yes, you can use your container all throughout your studies here at UW-Madison. Because we wash and re-use these as a way to reduce waste, we ask when you are done with your studies at UW-Madison that you turn it in. We usually hold collection drives for these at the end of semesters. Or you can turn it in anytime at any Dining Market.

If I am returning to the halls, do I have to pay to be a part of this program?

No. Anyone who is a resident with us will automatically, at no cost, be enrolled in the Ticket to Take-Out program. Annually, residents will receive information about the program and a receive a token in their room during move-in.

Can I take my leftovers home in a reusable to-go container?

No, if you wish to take your food to-go you must request a container either upon entry to the market (at all-you-care-to-eat locations) or at specific venues (a la carte locations).

Eat well. Live well.

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

  • Housing Dining’s Frozen Meals Program offers pre-packaged microwaveable meals, at no cost, for pick-up at The Crossing or Hillel to any student. Follow them on Facebook or Instagram to learn more.
  • Surplus food is also redistributed through the Campus Kitchens Project, Food Recovery Network, and Open Seat Food Pantry.
  • Every Dining Hall has an area designated as Bucky’s Share Table. Students are encouraged to leave any non-perishable food or drink items they may not want and/or take anything they may need at no extra cost to them. More resources related to food insecurity can be found here.
  • Vegetarian options are available at each meal to provide students with healthy, low carbon choices
  • 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 à la carte system reduces waste in comparison to all-you-can-eat buffet service
  • 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

Campus-wide food waste collection has been temporarily suspended due to unforeseen circumstances. Learn more and find other options for composting at the link here:

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

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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