Our goal is to provide resources for all students, staff, and faculty to practice and preserve the campus environment and reduce the overall harmful impact on the environment through partnership with the community. We hope to eliminate this harmful impact by reducing UW Eau Claire’s carbon emissions. UW Eau Claire has successfully implemented strategies surrounding efficient energy use, minimizing greenhouse gas emissions and educating students, staff and faculty on sustainable transportation alternatives.
The BluBox Program
The BluBox Program is a reusable food container program launching in the fall of 2021. This program is designed to reduce disposable container waste on our beautiful campus. Aligning with the university's sustainability goals, this easy-to-use program will help our campus community contribute to sustainability efforts.
Using a Blugold ID, individuals will obtain a free token that will then be exchanged for a BluBox reusable container while dining on campus. When the individual is done eating, the food is emptied into the appropriate bins. Please remember all food waste goes into compost bins. The BluBox container will be returned to one of three designated machines on campus, then washed and sanitized for reuse. This incredible program will eliminate thousands of plastic containers each academic year. BluBox machines are located in the Davies Center and Hilltop Market. Everyone on campus with a Blugold ID is required to participate in the program.
The containers are made in the USA, reusable up to 1,000 times, and can then be ground down, recycled and remade into more reusable containers. This is called a “Closed-Loop Technology Solution."
Where do I get my token?
New students, including first year, international, and transfer students can pick up their first token at Blugold Card Office. Existing students can pick up their first token at the Marketplace of Hilltop cash registers. If individuals need to buy back into the program due to the loss of a token, new tokens can be obtained for $5 at the cash registers in Marketplace or Hilltop.
What if I lose my token or container?
If you lose a token or container, they are considered lost, and you will have to buy back into the program for $5. There are no refunds, and the tokens have no cash value. You may use cash, credit or debit card, or dining dollars to buy additional tokens. We recommend getting a keychain coin-holder so you can always have your token on hand.
What if the BluBox machine does not give me a token back?
If the BluBox machine fails to return your token, please visit the Service Center to request a replacement. Completing a refund form will be required for verification.
What if I would like multiple meals or containers at one time?
Your first token and container are free. You can purchase additional tokens for $5.00 each.
Will there be single-use containers?
All meals will be served in BluBox containers. There will be some instances where single-use containers will still be used. For example, prepackaged salads, sandwiches and soups may be offered in single-use containers. Visitors may also have the option to obtain a single-use container.
Are campus visitors required to get a token?
Yes. We ask visitors planning to use a BluBox container to purchase a token for $5 or pay for it at the cashier register. Some individuals visiting campus for tours, orientations, or other predetermined event may be eligible for a free token (distributed by the department sponsoring the visit).
Do I need to return my token after graduation or leaving the institution?
Individuals are not required to return their BluBox token; however if you would like to return the token, please bring it back to the Blugold Card Office.
What is the environmental impact of this program?
- Water usage to manufacture and clean each container is 25% less than single-use disposable containers
- Greenhouse gas emissions to create and clean each container is 19% fewer than single-use disposable containers
- Reduces landfill and ocean waste
- Reduces dependence on fossil fuels by limiting deliveries of disposable containers
- Saves waste hauling costs
- Saves trees and reduces emissions
- Saves on space used to store single-use container paper products
"UWEC is committed to creating a more sustainable campus and community." Brian Drollinger, Director
Chancellor's Advisory Council on Sustainability
UW-Eau Claire formed a group of experienced and knowledgeable participants to help foster collaborations for the purpose of increasing awareness of sustainability concepts throughout the campus community and educating/engaging students, faculty, staff and community members.
The first meeting was conducted on October 6th, 2021.
The second meeting was conducted on December 7th, 2021.
Sustainability on our Campus
As a campus, we:
- Incorporated LED lighting throughout our campus. All exterior lighting on campus is now LED. LED lamps have been installed in some buildings on campus.
- Utilize composting in Davies.
- Donate food at the end of the semester to the food pantry so it doesn’t go to waste, menus feature locally grown food whenever possible and financially feasible. Vegetarian options are available at every station in Marketplace.
- Use Renew Green Cleaning products that support the health and safety of our campus community. This helps cut toxic cleaning chemical products in favor of a more economical, simplified and environmentally friendly approach.
- Removed deodorizers.
- Planted 50 trees on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.
- Use a non-Glyphosate alternative which creates time savings efficiencies for the ground's workers.
- Eliminated coal from campus fuel mix. Coal has been eliminated and is no longer burned in the Heating Plant.
What can I do?
- Reuse and Recycle
- Whenever possible, use a reusable water bottle, coffee cup or utensils.
- Ask for paper bags instead of plastic bags when shopping or bring a reusable bag.
- Be sure to recycle newspapers, aluminum cans, paper, plastic bottles and jugs, glass bottles, jars and cardboard.
- Some things that do not belong in the recycling bin include Styrofoam, chip bags, plastic bags, paper towels or napkins, juice or milk cartons and lightbulbs.
- Spending Habits
- Buy locally, if possible, instead of purchasing something further away.
- Buy second-hand! This can include clothing, furniture and decor.
- Embrace the minimalist lifestyle. Only buy things when you really need them.
- Electricity Use
- Use alternatives for heating and A/C. Try opening a window or adding layers before activating a heating or A/C system.
- Change your lightbulbs to LED. LED bulbs typically use 75% less energy.
- Use power strips instead of plugging all appliances into outlets. When you are finished using the appliance, turn off the power strip to save energy and money.
- Food Consumption
- Buy locally sourced food from the farmer's market. Not only are you supporting the community, but small business owners as well.
- Try composting food waste.
- Instead of throwing out food, save it for lunch/dinner or freeze it.
- Walk or ride your bike to destinations instead of driving a car.
- Use public transportation through Eau Claire Transit.
- Carpool with friends and utilize the UW Eau Claire Rideshare page on Facebook.
What's to Come
- STARS: The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, & Rating System (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance. STARS will allow UW-Eau Claire to comprehensively measure our current sustainability performance and assess progress both internally and in comparison to other institutions. Based on our sustainability performance, we will be awarded a bronze, silver, gold, or platinum medal as public recognition.
- Sustainability Office Certification Program: This certification program provides resources to provide a culture of sustainability in your office. There are three levels of this certification program: bronze, silver, and gold. At the end of each level the office will be rewarded a certification to recognize their excellence in sustainability. Once all levels are complete, the office will be awarded a plaque as an official "Green Office".
- If offices are interested in participating in the certification program please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional resources include:
At UW Eau Claire there are a variety of organizations students can join to learn about and practice sustainable efforts. If you are interested in joining an organization, please see the clubs and organizations listed below.
- Students Encouraging Environmental Deeds (SEED): Students Encouraging Environmental Deeds (SEED) is available to help Housing residents grow their "green" knowledge
- Contact: Hanna Dockter (DOCKTEHR7312@uwec.edu)
- Conservation Club: The purpose of The Conservation Club is to increase awareness of the environment, and provide professional development opportunities in the Eau Claire community and for the students of the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire. We seek to achieve our goal by implementing hands-on restoration, ecological education, and career development through productive collaboration with other organizations, thereby being a part of returning the environment to its natural state.
- Contact: Olivia Schenzel (email@example.com)
- Geology Club: All Geology majors and minors are automatically members of the Geology Club. We work to create a collegial environment among our members and share love of rocks!
- Contact: Rory Johnson (JOHNSORM3185@uwec.edu)
- Student Office of Sustainability (SOS): The purpose of the SOS is to allocate the UW-Eau Claire Green Fund for projects, programs, and events addressing the various sustainability areas of transportation, energy, waste, climate change, water, food systems, campus ecology, education etc.
- Contact: Maddie Loeffler (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Geography Club: Geography and Anthropology Club, or GAC as we affectionately call it, exists to unite all individuals interested in Geography and Anthropology. We are a social club for the department and have official meetings once a week with other social and service events throughout the semester. All interested students are welcome to join us for meetings and events.
- Contact: Jessica Peterson (email@example.com)