Seal of agricultural authenticity.

The food choices we make everyday have a significant impact on our environment. At Dining Services, we recognize the importance of our choices and have committed to purchasing socially responsible and sustainable food. Bon Appétit Management Company has much to say on this topic in the “Sustainability” area of their website.

USEFULL Green2Go Sustainability Program

Beginning in Fall 2022, Carleton Dining has been decreasing waste by partnering with USEFULL Reusable Takeout. Through this partnership, Carleton provides students and staff with USEFULL cups and Green2Go reusable takeout containers free of charge. Each container has a unique QR code, and USEFULL’s tech-enabled app ensures that these containers are returned and used again and again – saving an enormous amount of takeout waste! USEFULL cups can be used at all dining locations. There’s also a $0.25 discount for using a USEFULL cup for purchased beverages from the Carleton Café food truck, Schulze Café or Weitz Café.

Step 1: Download the USEFULL app, sign in with your email address.

Step 2: In the app set-up, pick the “Basic Subscription Option ($0/month)”

Step 3: Connect your account to your OneCard and start using it!

Things to know

  1. Three USEFULL/Green2Go items can be checked out at a time (1 USEFULL cup and 2 Green2Go containers, 2 USEFULL cups and 1 Green2Go container, 3 USEFULL cups or 3 Green2Go containers).
  2. When you check out a container, you will have five days to return it with no late fee. After five days have passed, your Schillers will get billed $1/day for two weeks until the full value of the cup/container is paid off. You are ONLY charged if you don’t return the takeout container within five days, so get ’em in!
    • The USEFULL app will send you notifications when items you have checked out are due. You will also receive an email when you check out a container that has the date you need to return it by, and a reminder email on the date it is due.
  3. Takeout containers have a unique QR code on them which will be used for checkout and return.
  4. When you return your takeout container at a dining hall or campus cafe, you will need to scan it in on the iPad. The container is then taken off your “borrowed” list (think of it like a library book).

If you have any suggestions or comments, please email us at

Do I return the container every time after I am done eating?

Yes, please return the container as soon as you are able to so we can get it washed for the next person to use. You will need to scan the container back in to remove it from your inventory on the USEFULL app. Failure to do so within the 5-day grace period will result in a charge of $1/day.

Where do I return the USEFULL/Green2Go container?

You can return your container to Sayles or Schulze Café, Burton, or LDC during open hours. You will need to scan the container in to remove it from your inventory on the USEFULL app.

What if I can’t return the USEFULL/Green2Go container on the same day I use it?

While we hope you can return the container as soon as you are finished for it to be washed and used again, we understand you are busy! Please return it as soon as you can. If you bring it back within the first 5 days you will avoid being charged $1/day.

What if the Green2Go container breaks?

If the Green2Go container breaks, please alert dining hall staff when you return the container. Students will NOT be charged if a container breaks as long as it is returned within the 5-day grace period. The containers are recyclable and Bon Appétit will send it to the proper location to have it recycled.

What if the reusable container is lost?

If you have lost a reusable container, your Schillers will get billed the full value of the container ($14).

Can I borrow a reusable container to or from a friend?

No, you should not borrow or lend the reusable container. This container is only to be used by the individual that receives the container and must return the same one when finished with their meal. The checked out container is in that individual’s inventory on the USEFULL app and when returned clears out the container associated with them. If it is not returned within 5 days, a $1/day late fee will be charged.

Where do they get washed? Do I have to wash the reusable container?

The containers will be washed just like the other dishes used in Sayles, Schulze, Burton, and LDC. We ask that you please compost any uneaten food in a compost bin and rinse your container with water, if possible. Your used container(s) can be checked back in at either dining hall or Sayles or Schulze Café when they are open.

Is this USEFULL/Green2Go program free?

Yes, as long as you return the container(s)!

How will the distribution and return process work so I don’t have to wait in line longer than normal?

You can download the USEFULL app anytime you would like but to reduce wait time, we encourage students to download beforehand.

Do I have to return my USEFULL/Green2Go container before securing another container?

The program will allow you to have 3 reusable containers checked out at one time. This could be 1 USEFULL cup and 2 Green2Go containers, 2 USEFULL cups and 1 Green2Go container, or 3 USEFULL cups or 3 Green2Go containers.

Can I clean out my own USEFULL/Green2Go container and reuse it instead of getting another one from dining staff?

No, it must be sanitized in the commercial dishwashers before being used again per the Minnesota Department of Health guidelines.

Can I decorate my USEFULL/Green2Go container?

No, they are property of the College for everyone to use. Please do not decorate or personalize your container as it will be used over and over again by many other program users.


Carleton’s commitment to sustainability includes a composting component. Beginning in the fall of 2007, the College has composted food waste and other products made out of biodegradable material. All food waste produced by Carleton’s dining facilities is collected in yellow “compostable” bins. In addition, all disposable items at Sayles Café, including plates, cups, containers, and utensils, are compostable. During Carleton’s annual Commencement and Reunion activities, all meals are served on plates and utensils made of compostable materials.

While individual composting is common, undertaking the process on a larger scale is not. Many communities, including Northfield, compost leaves, grass, and other yard waste city-wide, but no service is yet provided for food waste except backyard composting. Carleton’s compostable waste is picked up daily by the college’s waste hauler.

The program helps Carleton in its efforts to abide by the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, originally signed by former Carleton President Robert A. Oden, Jr. The commitment pledges to move toward eliminating Carleton’s greenhouse gas emissions and steer the College toward climate neutrality. One of the items in the commitment asks participants to select from a list of seven ways to support sustainability — in this case, reducing waste on campus. It also supports the college’s own Climate Action Plan, approved by the Board of Trustees in 2011. 

Carleton Food Recovery Network

The Carleton Food Recovery Network is a chapter of the national Food Recovery Network organization. Food Recovery Network was founded in 2011 and the Carleton chapter was the first Minnesota chapter to be created.

Founded by student Shira Kaufman in 2014 in collaboration with the Center for Community and Civic Engagement and Bon Appétit, the Carleton Food Recovery Network transports uneaten food from the dining hall to community partners in the Northfield area struggling with food insecurity. During the first two years of operation, Carleton student volunteers have collected over 5,000 pounds of food and redirected it away from the college’s waste stream and into the mouths of hungry Rice County residents.

Rice County Partner Agencies

  • Whispers of Hope (Faribault)
  • Northfield Area Learning Center (Northfield)
  • A Child’s Delight (Faribault)
  • Greenvale Community School (Northfield)
  • Northfield Food Shelf

Carleton Food Recovery Network recovers food five nights per week from Burton and East Dining Halls and has 50+ student volunteers. See the photo gallery of some members of the team.

Real Food Challenge

The Real Food Challenge is a nationwide campaign to shift dining services food budgets away from industrial farms and junk food and towards local, fair, ecologically sound, and humane food sources — what is called “real food.”

The Real Food Calculator is a tool used at Carleton by a sub-committee of the Food Alliance to determine how much real food Dining Services purchases and to look into ways to shift purchasing toward real food.Thus, the Real Food Calculator sets high and consistent standard among all the institutions that use it and supports users in setting quantitative goals and in tracking their progress.

Currently, over 130 higher-education institutions are implementing the Real Food Calculator. Carleton’s percentage of purchases that qualify as Real Food averages between 25-30% annually, one of the highest scores of any institution in the country.

For more information about the Real Food Challenge at Carleton, visit the CCCE website.