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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

To-Go Containers

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Frequently Asked Questions about To-Go Meals

What is a To-Go meal?

You can use your meal plan to take a meal out of the University Dining Center instead of eating it in the dining center. After your MavCARD is swiped you can get a reusable container to hold the items you will take out for your meal.

How do I get a To-Go container?

You can get a To-Go container at the University Dining Center cashier's station by putting down a refundable $5 deposit. You can use Dining Dollars, cash or credit. (MavCash is not accepted.)

What do I do with my To-Go container when I am done?

Bring your used To-Go container back to the dining center so University Dining staff can wash it. At that time, you can choose to get a new To-Go container or you can get your $5 deposit refunded.

Can I keep the container for a while?

You can bring it back right away, wait until the next time you are coming to the dining center, or just bring it the next time you remember.

How do I get my $5 back?

Return your To-Go container and a refund of $5 will be credited to your Dining Dollar balance.  If you used cash or credit card to purchase your To-Go container, a receipt must be presented for refund of cash value.  If you lost or do not have your receipt, you will receive a refund of $5 to your Dining Dollars balance.

Will the $5 go back on my Dining Dollars account immediately, or will it take until the next day?

The Dining Dollars go back on your account right away and are immediately available for use.

Why do I have to put down a $5 deposit?

The $5 refundable deposit helps motivate you to bring the container back. We researched Reusable To-Go Container programs at other schools and learned that when people got the containers for free, they were not as likely to return them.  This meant that containers were piling up in student rooms (creating an insect problem) and the dining service would run out of the containers and need to purchase more. At schools that required a deposit for the containers, people were more likely to return them.  Plus, the $5 pays for the container if it doesn't get returned.

Can I just bring my own container and avoid the whole $5 charge?

No. University Dining does not allow outside containers because there's no way for them to guarantee that those containers are cleaned and sanitized.

Can I just wash the container myself and reuse the same one?

No. University Dining will issue you a new container when you want a To-Go meal.  This ensures that the container you use is clean and sanitized.

Do I have to wash the container before I bring it back?

It's great if you do, but you can bring it back dirty. All returned containers are washed at a high temperature in the dish machine.

What if I want to bring back a used To-Go container and use a clean To-Go container at the same time for a meal?

You can exchange your used To-Go container for a clean To-Go container.  When you do an exchange, you get a new container but don't pay the $5 again. You'll get the $5 refund when you bring back a container and don't get a new one at the same time.   

What if I already have a To-Go container, forgot it in my room, and now want to get another meal To-Go?

You can get another To-Go Meal container by putting down another $5 deposit for the second container. When you're ready, bring back your extra container to get the $5 refunded. Or, you can quick go back to your room and get your other container!

What if people take out 2 or 3 or more containers?  Do you have enough?

Approximately 3,000 people live on campus and University Dining has about 6,000 containers.

Can I just get a cup?

You can get only a cup, but it will use a whole meal swipe.

Can I get two cups instead of a cup and a container?

No. You may get one cup and/or one container for each meal.

Where are the locations I can use To-Go containers?

To-Go meal containers are only offered and refunded at Carkoski Dining Hall.

Does Chet's Place have To-Go containers?

Chet's has disposable containers.

Can I get my refund or exchange my reusable container at Chet's Place?

The reusable containers are refundable and exchangeable in the dining center only.

What if I don't have any Dining Dollars?

You can use cash or credit to put down your $5 deposit instead of using Dining Dollars.

What if someone steals my To-Go container and returns it to get the $5 refund?

You should keep your room door secured at all times.  If you are a victim of theft, please contact University Security to file a report.

Can I put the To-Go container in the microwave?

The container is stamped "dishwasher safe" and makes no reference to microwave safety.  We do not recommend microwaving To-Go containers.

What about cups?  How come they are still Styrofoam?

Reusable cups are a possibility in the future.

Why not just have disposable containers? Wouldn't that be easier?

It might be easier on all of us, but it's not necessarily easier on the planet!  Sustainable practices are important to students, faculty, and staff. Sustainable practices are also important to University Dining.  Learn more about sustainability efforts at the University and within University Dining.