Vanderbilt University brings reusable containers to campus

Under the Fill It Forward program, all undergraduate students will receive one free reusable takeout container.
Reusable take out containers
Vanderbilt University has committed to achieving zero waste by 2030 / Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

The Vanderbilt Student Government and Vanderbilt Campus Dining have collaborated to bring a reusable container program to all residential dining halls on the Nashville campus. The program, launched with reusables platform Fill It Forward, went into effect on Aug. 9. The university piloted a similar program in 2019.

Each undergraduate student will receive one free container, and additional containers are available for purchase for $5.

To use the program, students must first register using the Fill It Forward app. To check out a container, students use the app to scan a QR code at the dining hall entrance and follow a similar process to return the containers, which are dropped into a Fill It Forward bin. The containers are then collected, cleaned and sanitized.

“Launching the Fill It Forward program is a big step forward in our drive to offer sustainable dining at Vanderbilt,” said Maria Portelli, senior director for campus dining, in a statement. “Based on surveys and feedback, our students have long advocated for environmentally-friendly packaging, and we know that Vanderbilt Student Government has expressed particular interest in a reusable to-go system. We’re proud to reduce our environmental footprint and look forward to more initiatives like this in the coming years.”

The reusables program is a part of a larger sustainability endeavor by Vanderbilt. In 2019, the university announced a goal to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. The university has also committed to achieving zero waste by 2030.  The university’s sustainability initiatives include investing in on-site clean energy and offsite large-scale renewable energy, and reducing consumption and waste



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