By Kevin Gaddie, Team Eglin Public Affairs
/ Published November 13, 2019
Senior Airman Nathalie Grace, 96th Force Support Squadron, places a reusable green carry-out food container in the kiosk at the Breeze Dining Facility at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The green containers could eventually save the test wing $14,000 in disposable food container costs. U.S. Air Force photo/Kevin Gaddie)
As part of the 96th Test Wing’s innovation initiative, environmentally-friendly, reusable green carry-out food containers are now available to eligible Breeze Dining Facility patrons.
Each container provides 300 uses for Airmen with meal cards, which could eventually save the test wing $14,000 in disposable food container costs if it goes completely green, according to Aubrey Harvey, 96th Force Support Squadron food services director.
The green containers eliminate the cost and volume of paper and foam products associated with food service operations, Harvey said. A green container reaches 300 uses in four to five months on average and is then replaced.
According to Harvey, 96th FSS leadership saw a food container kiosk at another base’s dining facility while on temporary duty earlier this year and started the process to get one here. The kiosk request was presented at a July innovation spark event, approved by wing leadership and the kiosk arrived in August.
Eligible Airmen can sign up for one or two gold tokens at the Breeze’s accounting office and exchange them for either a green single entrée container, a three-compartment container, or both.
Airmen present tokens at a food station to get carry-out food in a green container, then give the tokens to a cashier at checkout. Next, they return the empty containers to the Breeze, deposit them in the kiosk and tokens are redeemed.
The containers are removed from the kiosk after every meal, cleaned and sanitized and put back into rotation.
A container’s barcode is scanned in the kiosk, enabling the Breeze to track its usage. The numbers are recorded online and the Breeze receives a monthly usage report. When a container reaches 300 uses, it is taken out of rotation.
The test wing is researching a way for cash customers to also opt into the program.
“The goal is to greatly reduce our disposable container usage,” he said. “If we can transition to 100 percent reusable containers, it will save the test wing money and help the environment.”