Reusable Dish Program
How it Works
The Reusable Dish Program is a service offered to University of Alberta undergraduate and greater community members. The service is free to clients whose usage is associated with any University of Alberta function. Otherwise we ask clients for a $5 - $10 user fee based on the number of items ordered.
Please click here to place an order with the RDP.
Requests will be confirmed or denied based on our inventory within five business days.
Book in advance
- For under 100 items please request 1 week in advance.
- For 100+ items please request 2 weeks in advance.
Costs and Fees
- Missing Dishes - A $5 fee for every missing item.
- Find us at 0-78 SUB, in the lower level of the Students' Union Building, 8900 - 114 Street, Edmonton, Alberta.
Hours of Operation
- InfoLink is open during the Fall and Winter Semester from 9AM - 5PM. Summer hours are 9:30AM - 4:30PM.
- Reusable Dish Program is open Monday - Friday 9AM - 5PM.
Pick-Ups & Returns
- Pick-Up - Arrive at the Student Life Central InfoLink. Ask to access your dish order.
- Dirty Dish Drop offs - Ask InfoLink to access the space. Place your dishes below the table.
Count your Dishes
Please ensure you have the correct number of dishes before taking them away and before returning them. We want to limit human error as much as possible, and make the experience rewarding for everyone.
Unless stated otherwise our dishes are made of food safe polypropylene. They are safe for hot food items.
- Beige dinner plates (113)
- Black dinner plates (326)
- Black appetizer plates (110)
- Ceramic appetizer plates (76)
- Water pitchers (14) Made of polyethylene should not be heated
- Blue and Green cups (406) - (Capacity - 1.5 cups / 355ml / 12oz)
- Black bowls (102) - (Capacity - 1.5 cups / 355ml / 12oz)
- Blue bowls (39) - (Capacity - 2 cups / 500ml / 16oz)
- Green and Gold appetizer bowls (123) - (Capacity - 0.5 cups / 125ml / 4oz)
- Orange salad bowls (97) - (Capacity - 1.5 cups / 355ml / 12oz) Made of Melamine plastic not microwave safe
SUB FOOD COURT - RE-USE-A-DISH
Since 2003 Sustain SU has offered reusable dishes at the SUB food court for use at any vendor.
- Save $0.25 with participating SUB food vendors!
- Find them at the Zero Waste Station and L’express.
- Please rinse and return them to the Zero Waste Station.
We are looking for volunteers who are interested in learning about developing a small business, connecting with community members, promoting reusables and working for a good cause.
Sustain SU offers the Reusable Dish Program to help the community reduce waste!
Dishes can be rented by organizations to help them to reduce the environmental impact of their events. We also offer them in SUB food court! Save on your meal by using our dishes!
The RDP is operated by volunteers, and our inventory is sponsored by the Office of Sustainability.
All you really need to know about the Re-usable vs Disposable debate!
Why did you choose the dishes you have? In the past dishes dishes purchased were all Poly-Propelyne (Plastic #5), A highly durable plastic that is microwave safe. We are putting a moritorium on the purchases of Melamine dishware due to its inability to withstand microwave use and its higher potential health risk (See Why Avoid Melamine and Dish Buying Guide)
Do you provide cutlery Yes! We added cutlery to our inventory in the 2017-18 year.
Do you deliver? No, clients must pick up their order from the student services kitchen space in the lower level of the Students' Union Building. All the information about the pick-up and return process is included in the confirmation email.
My organization is external to the University of Alberta may we still borrow reusable dishes Yes, however on campus groups are given priority, there will be a $5 - $10 service fee based on the amount of dishes requested.
How is your project funded? The Office of Sustainability of the University of Alberta sponsors the program which covers the costs of staff time as well as operational costs (new dishes, in-house sanitizer chemicals, etc.)
Where are your dishes washed and sanitized? Sustain SU has a dish sanitizer in the Students' Union services kitchen space 0-78. All dishes are washed, and sanitized at 180 degrees which ensures plates are safe for anyone with food allergies to use!
How do you get students to participate in the SUB Re-Use-A-Dish? A few of the vendors in our food court offer a 'dishcount' of $0.25 to encourage use, however the primary reason to participate is waste reduction
How do you promote to students? Through posters and volunteer activities - like flash mobs and stamp card promotions - we raise awareness of the program. We have offered reusable dishes in the Students' Union food court since 2003, and various student groups and campus organizations already know of us, and their use helps to make other aware of the program.
What are some barriers you face with implementation? Capacity and incentivisation. As a volunteer run and sponsored initiative we are looking to be a more sustainable small business. We are developing mechanisms to ensure that renters returned rinsed dishes and re-pay us for any missing dishes.
Do you have a lot of returning volunteers? Some. It’s a friendly and easy atmosphere. It's the most tangible but perhaps the least glamorous of our projects. Sustainability is a labour of love.
How did you keep track of dishes that were given out? We use Google Forms and tag the orders. Our volunteers also maintain dish inventory of our stock.
Monday to Friday
Best available by appointment.
Sustain SU Office
0-81 Student Life Central desk Lower Level
Students' Union Building
University of Alberta
8900 - 114 Street NW