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Occidental College

Occidental College

Occidental College

With a student pop of <2000, Occidental College is on track to hit their zero-waste goals and see the ROI of their ReusePass reusables to-go program within the first 5 months of launching. 

Key results

  • 98% return rate

  • 78% of undergraduates participating

  • Nearly $10,000 in packaging cost-savings

  • Over 35k containers diverted from landfill

  • 9x greater usage than previous program


"While Topanga and ReusePass continue to use the feedback of member schools to improve the program, it is easy for us to say that ReusePass has exceeded our expectations. With over 1200 users and a return rate of 98%, the new program has been extremely successful.”  Robert Starec, Associate Director, Campus Dining 


Before ReusePass

After seeing low student participation and unsustainable return rates with their existing reusables program, Occidental knew they needed to re-launch with a new, trackable solution like ReusePass to help them drive accountability and engagement. 


Program design & setup

To ensure that the ReusePass launch would succeed, the Topanga team worked closely with the Occidental dining team and campus sustainability ambassadors across various touch points.

The first step was container procurement and inventory planning. Since Occidental had an existing reusables program, they had containers on-hand. Topanga worked with them to ensure the existing inventory was enough to support daily transactions and to procure Topanga tracking tags to apply to their existing containers retroactively.

The next step was program design. Topanga's success team worked with Occidental to create a bespoke service design, visiting the school and observing the front-of-house and back-of-house operations in their primary dining hall, an in-person ordering experience with a pay-as-you-exit format.

Understanding the dining work flows allowed Topanga create an optimal operational plan for frictionless student and employee experience. This included strategizing where to set up reusable container check-out stations, return bins, and drying racks. It also including staff training, ensuring that all stakeholders were confident with the tools and talking points of the ReusePass program.

After the site visit, Topanga and Occidental worked to set up the ReusePass consumer experience and began outlining key marketing touchpoints. With the program launching at the start of fall semester, Topanga knew that partnering with the orientation leaders and RAs would be a great opportunity to onboard students seamlessly to the program. Topanga led RA training and provided Occidental with turn-key marketing materials, including posters, floor decals, and pop-up banners.


Launch day

By launch day, everyone at the school was well aware of the ReusePass program and excited to join! To further bolster launch day awareness, the dining team at Occidental partnered with Topanga to strategize a tabling event. As part of Topanga's student ambassador program, Topanga provided ReusePass stickers and impact signage to help support peer-to-peer awareness efforts.



Over 5 months in Occidental continues to see amazing results with the ReusePass program. Topanga and Occidental are working together to strategize the next era of zero-waste dining, including expansion to coffee shops and additional dining locations on campus and the opportunity to upgrade to Topanga's RFID solution for laborless tracking.


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