U North Carolina Chapel Hill Opens Local Foods Dining Option

The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill has opened a new eatery in one of its dining halls that serves local food. The new dining option, 1.5.0, gets its name from its commitment to only serve food from within 150 miles. Dining services hoped the new eatery would break even in sales, but so far it has exceeded those expectations. Students have been excited to try the new option with items such as sweet potato fries with local honey. The restaurant features a chalkboard menu that will change weekly according to produce and meat availability.

Western Washington U Commits to Local Food

Western Washington University has joined the Real Food Challenge, a group that encourages universities to increase the amount of ethically produced food on campus, and has made a commitment to increase the amount of Northwest-grown, fair-trade, organic, and humanely produced food on campus by 20 percent. To help meet this goal, Dining Services is working with Growing Washington to dedicate land to specifically grow food for the University. Dining Services also plans to freeze or preserve summer produce to be used during the winter months.

Emory U Designated First Green Certified Campus by GFA

Emory University (GA) has been designated as the first certified college campus in the U.S. under the Green Certification Program by the Green Foodservice Alliance (GFA). Emory was noted for: recycling materials like aluminum and steel, glass, cardboard, glass, paper and plastics; repurposing used grease for the local production of biodiesel; and not using any polystyrene (Styrofoam) in its dining facilities (if Emory uses polystyrene, a recyclable or compostable alternative is made available to users). The Green Certification Program focuses on reducing waste on college campuses, in restaurants, and from other large venues like convention centers and business districts.

Texas Christian U Dining Services Reduces Waste

Texas Christian University’s Dining Services has announced plans to begin offering its used coffee grounds to students, faculty, and staff for use as a fertilizer. The program to reuse coffee grounds was replicated from a Starbucks initiative that has been in place since 1995. The University’s Dining Services hopes to reduce waste through the new program.

Arkansas State U Goes Trayless

Arkansas State University’s dining services has decided to stop using trays in an effort to reduce food waste and the use of water, electricity, and chemicals. The University reduced food waste by approximately 400 pounds in one of three trial runs last semester.

U Washington Implements Compostable Lid

The University of Washington, in partnership with International Paper and Coca-Cola, has become the first university to begin use of a compostable fountain-drink lid for the compostable Coca-Cola ecotainer cup. The new plant-based 100 percent-compostable lid augments the compostable cups and straws already in use on UW's Seattle campus. In March 2010, the UW expects to introduce a compostable lid for hot foods—such as soups—to campus. Once in place, campus dining facilities believes it will be almost entirely solid-waste free.

Wilfrid Laurier U Introduces Reusable Plastic Food Container

Wilfrid Laurier University's (ON) Food Services has introduced a new, reusable plastic food container to reduce the amount of waste produced from cardboard takeout containers. The reusable “eco-takeout” containers cost $5. Regular, disposable takeout containers will still be available for a cost of 25 ¢, an “eco-tax” that will fully recover the cost of the disposable container. To ensure the reusable containers remain hygienic, students are able to drop off their eco-takeout container at any Food Services outlet on campus to be washed. In exchange they will receive a properly washed eco-takeout container or a card that will allow them to take an eco-takeout container the next time they need one.

Emory U, Acadia U Implement Trayless Dining

Emory University (GA) and Acadia University (NS) have implemented trayless dining initiatives on campus. Emory has decided to go tray-free in its Oxford College dining hall starting this fall after a successful spring pilot program resulted in a 14,587-pound reduction in food waste compared to the same semester one year earlier. The Oxford pilot project also decreased overall food consumption, which resulted in savings of approximately $800 per month for overall food purchases at Oxford’s dining facility. Savings from the program are being reinvested into menu options that feature more locally grown fruits and vegetables, part of Emory’s sustainability goal to purchase 75 percent local or sustainably grown food by 2015. Acadia's new program has removed trays from Wheelock Dining Hall in an effort to reduce food waste, water use, and energy consumption. The program's official launch will be held when returning students arrive for the academic year. A President’s Lunch is planned in Wheelock Dining Hall to introduce trayless dining to new and returning students and to celebrate Acadia’s other sustainable food service initiatives.

Several Campuses Switch to Reusable To-Go Containers

Several campus dining halls throughout North America will begin using the "Green Thread," a reusable, to-go food container introduced by ARAMARK Higher Education. The containers, which are dishwasher-safe and go through the same cleaning process as the dinnerware used in campus dining halls, will be offered to students at participating campuses starting this year. The eco-friendly option is expected to divert more than 2 million disposables from landfills during the 2009-2010 school year. The new program is a result of successful pilots at Baylor University (TX), University of Florida, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Peace College (NC), and Salem College (NC).

Edgewood College Restaurant Certified Green

Edgewood College's (WI) Phil's has been named a Certified Green Restaurant by the Green Restaurant Association. Officials believe that Phil's is the first college or university dining service operation in Wisconsin to receive the honor. The dining facility uses zero trans-fat cooking oils that are filtered daily to extend life, recycles cooking oils for use in the creation of biofuel, and uses compostable disposables.

Georgia Tech Begins Waste Reduction Initiative

Georgia Tech has begun a waste reduction initiative on campus. Brittain Dining Hall has been stocked with only biodegradable and reusable items. The facility will also collect organic waste for composting, which, once fully decomposed, will be used as a soil conditioner in campus landscaping. Georgia Tech plans to expand the new waste reduction program to other dining facilities in the coming months. Additionally, in the fall, students will receive a discount for using a reusable cups at all dining halls on campus.

Christian Science Monitor Covers Growing Number of Green Dining Halls

The Christian Science Monitor has published an article on the growing number of dining halls, both K-12 and college-level, that are implementing local and organic food, tray-free, and environmentally friendly dinnerware, and Fair Trade initiatives. The article mentions initiatives at the following higher education institutions: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Green Mountain College (VT), Baldwin-Wallace College (OH), and the University of California, San Diego.

U Wisconsin Oshkosh Cancels Plans to Bring KFC to Campus

The University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh has cancelled its plans to sign a six-year contract with Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) after a group of faculty, students, and staff expressed concerns related to animal welfare and argued that the contract would go against the University's commitment to sustainability. After researching the issue further, students collected over 450 signatures on a petition calling for the University to drop KFC and the University decided to consider other options.

Campuses Participate in Bon Appétit's Low Carbon Diet Day

Several campuses recently participated in Low Carbon Diet Day, an event when all Bon Appétit Company cafés offer a low carbon meal cooked by Bon Appétit chefs. Meals included turkey burgers (made with local turkey) topped with local avocados, cheese-less pizza, and burritos with quinoa, black beans, and local, sustainability farm-raised tilapia.

Campus Food Provider Establishes Fair Labor Requirements

Bon Appétit Management Company, a food service company operating 400 university and corporate cafés in 29 states, has established fair labor requirements that integrate minimum fair wage, worker empowerment stipulations, worker safety, third party-monitoring, and incentives to growers who exceed minimum requirements of the agreement. In an effort to address unfair treatment of Florida's farm-workers, Bon Appétit partnered with The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a farm-workers organization that fights for more humane farm labor standards in Florida, to forgo a new agreement that frames acceptable working conditions and enforces those conditions with a strict code of conduct.

Moravian College to Expand Trayless Dining

Due to the success of its "Trayless Tuesdays" pilot program, Moravian College (PA) has announced plans to expand the initiative to every day of the week. The College realized a 20-25 percent reduction in food waste a result of the pilot project. Moravian's Trayless Tuesdays initiative has also been successful in raising student awareness. The administration estimates that 25 percent of students now voluntarily eat without the use of a tray on other days of the week.

NY Times Covers Colleges Going Trayless

The New York Times has published an article on the growing number of colleges and universities that are eliminating the use of trays in the dining halls in an effort to reduce food, water, and energy waste. The article mentions Skidmore College (NY), Williams College (MA), the Rochester Institute of Technology (NY), Cornell University (NY), and the Culinary Institute of America (NY).

U Wisconsin, Eau Claire Expands Trayless Program

The University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire has announced plans to expand its current Trayless Tuesdays program to every day of the week starting in the fall of 2009. The University made the decision after seeing how well students adapted to the pilot.

Ohio State U Switches to Biodegradable Bags in Dining Halls

Ohio State University dining halls have switched to biodegradable bags for students who take their food to go. In addition, several dining halls are selling reusable cloth bags for $1 each. After nine purchases with the bag, students get an entrée for free.

Rice U to Go Trayless

Rice University (TX) has announced plans to remove all of its cafeteria trays over its spring break. The Student Association passed a resolution to support the removal of trays from dining halls in an effort to reduce food waste. The new initiative will reduce energy use as well as water and chemical waste since trays no longer have to be washed. Trays will still be available for handicapped and injured students.

UW Whitewater Goes Trayless

The University of Wisconsin, Whitewater has stopped offering trays at Esker Dining Hall, Drumlin Market, and the eateries in the James R. Conner University Center. The dining halls implemented the initiative after the successful pilot program, Trayless Tuesdays. The University estimates that it will save approximately 192,000 gallons of water.

U Buffalo Implements Trayless Policy

The State University of New York at Buffalo has implemented a trayless policy at three dining centers on campus. The University anticipates saving 48,000 pounds of food waste as a result of the new measure.

U Florida Dining Offers Reusable To-Go Containers

The University of Florida Gator Dining Services has begun offering reusable to-go containers at three locations on campus. The containers are dishwasher-safe and made to be reused over and over again, helping cut down on the waste produced from their traditional disposable counterparts. The process allows customers take their food to go as usual, bring the reusable container back at their earliest convenience at which time it gets washed by Gator Dining, and the cycle continues. Up to two reusable containers can be checked out per Gator 1 card.

U Washington Pilots Compostable Cup for Soft Drinks

The University of Washington is the pilot site for the first compostable paper cup designed specifically for soft drinks. The University expects to reduce the number of disposable cups that go to the landfill by 150,000 per year as a result of the new initiative. UW requested the cup in early 2007 to meet the City of Seattle's requirements that all packaging be compostable by July 2010, and it was created by International Paper in cooperation with the University of Washington and Cedar Grove Composting. The new compostable cup was the last big piece in UW Housing and Food Services' compostable products line, which already includes compostable plates, utensils and hot drink cups.

Northland College Eliminates Cafeteria Trays

Northland College (WI) has eliminated the use of trays in its cafeteria. The new initiative aims to cut down on food waste and to save water, energy, time, and dish soap. In the fall semester, the College began Tray-less Tuesdays, an initiative that saved 138 gallons of water each Tuesday by not offering trays to students. Now, Northland is extending the policy for the other six days of the week.

Ithaca College Dining Hall Implements Trayless Tuesdays

Towers Dining Hall at Ithaca College (NY) has announced Trayless Tuesdays, a program in which the hall forgoes trays each Tuesday. The weekly program is an effort to reduce the amount of food being wasted in the dining hall.

Portland State U Dining Hall to be Zero Waste

Portland State University (OR) Dining, in partnership with its food service provider, has announced that one of its dining halls, Victor's, has begun taking steps to become a zero waste facility. The dining hall plans to achieve this goal by recycling all cans, glass bottles, plastic containers, cardboard boxes, and paper; setting up a new system to recycle all plastic wrap and films; recycling used cooking oil; composting all food waste and napkins, and using bulk containers for condiments, avoiding individual packaging as much as possible.

Fort Lewis College Switches to Compostable Food Trays

Fort Lewis College (CO) has switched to using compostable food trays in its dining halls and café. The College hopes to see a significant reduction in refuse as a result of the trays, which will be composted on site.

Cornell U Dining Hall Goes Trayless

Cornell University (NY) has begun a new initiative to eliminate the use of trays in its dining halls. Cornell officials removed the trays from Risley Dining Hall, the first dining facility to participate in the new initiative, after a successful pilot program in the beginning of the semester.

U Arkansas, College of William & Mary Go Trayless

Three University of Arkansas dining halls have gone trayless. The University estimates that it will reduce food waste from 433,500 to 225,000 pounds, save 200,000 gallons of water, and thousands of kilowatt-hours of electricity per academic year. The College of William and Mary (VA) Sadler Center has adopted a tray-free program as well. The dining hall is the second on campus to do so.

U Alaska Fairbanks, U Minnesota Go Trayless

The University of Alaska, Fairbanks has eliminated trays from its dining hall in an effort to reduce food waste. UAF implemented the initiative after a successful week-long pilot program last semester resulted in eliminating 50 percent of the dining hall's food waste. The University of Minnesota has also stopped using trays in its dining halls. The UM initiative is also the result of a successful pilot program that saved an average of 1.5 ounces of food waste per person and 1,700 gallons of water.

Indiana U Announces Several Green Initiatives

Indiana University has announced several green initiatives that will take place on its campus for the first time this fall as a result of work completed by interns in the IU Sustainability Task Force's Student Sustainability Internship Program. The initiatives include: one dining hall on campus has gone tray-free this year; cardboard recycling was present at all 11 residence halls for student move-in; several gardens have been started at residence halls on campus; one food court on campus has started a composting program in which the organic material will be used in a nearby campus garden; and recycling will take place at IU football games this year.

Mesa State College to Go Trayless, Installs Green Equipment

Mesa State College (CO) has announced plans to go trayless in January 2009. The College estimates that the tray-free initiative will save 41,000 gallons of water each semester. Additionally, Mesa State has installed solar panels on top of the science center and a ground-source heating-exchange system to control temperature at the new business and teacher education building.

U Cincinnati, Maryville, Florida Southern Eliminate Food Trays

The University of Cincinnati (OH), Maryville College (TN), and Florida Southern College have stopped using trays in campus dining halls. UC's initiative was implemented after the pilot program saved 2,030 pounds of food waste in one week and the Maryville initiative originated from a resolution through the Student Government Association. All programs aim to reduce food waste, water consumption, and energy use.

U Illinois Urbana Champaign Pilots Tray-free Program

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has begun a pilot program to eliminate trays in dining halls on campus. Throughout the year, the University plans to compare food waste and energy conservation data from the cafeterias that still use trays to the one tray-free dining hall on campus.

U Alabama Eliminates Trays on Campus

The University of Alabama has eliminated lunch trays from its buffet-style dining halls. The initiative seeks to conserve water and energy and decrease food waste on campus. Since the initiative began, UA has observed a 25 percent decrease in electricity use and in food waste. Trays are still available, however, upon request.

U Connecticut to Go Trayless

The University of Connecticut has announced plans to go trayless this fall. The project, which will be implemented in 7 of 8 dining halls, aims to reduce the amount of wasted food and water, which is used to wash the trays. During a weeklong trial last semester in two dining halls, UConn saved about 760 pounds of food and more than 913 gallons of water just by going tray-less at dinnertime.

2 Virginia Tech Dining Halls Go Trayless

Two of Virginia Tech's dining halls have gone trayless after a successful pilot program. During the pilot phase of the initiative, which took place in one dining hall during Earth Week, dining services saw a 38 percent reduction in food waste.

Lafayette College Dining Services Goes Green

Lafayette College (PA) Dining Services has switched to using biodegradable products; purchasing organic, locally-grown food, and employing a more efficient waste management system. Green friendly dining products available in all dining locations on campus include clear, biodegradable cold beverage cups and take-away containers made from corn starch; plates, cups, and other types of containers made from wheat starch; and napkins generated from recycled paper. Dining Services has also begun using biodegradable hot beverage cups and is currently exploring sources for biodegradable utensils as well. Reusable hot beverage mugs and cold beverage bottles are available for purchase on campus and discounts are offered for using such renewable beverage containers. Also available in all dining locations is organic and fair-trade coffee.

U Maine, Farmington Donates 100% of its Waste Oil for Biofuel

The University of Maine at Farmington Dining Services recently began donating 100 percent of its waste cooking oil to a local biodiesel production company. The initiative is expected to recycle more than 1,600 gallons of waste cooking oil and grease annually.

CSU Fresno Switches to Compostable Dinnerware

California State University, Fresno recently began serving campus food with compostable cups, lids, napkins, small plates, and beverage sleeves. These green products will also be used at all events catered by University Dining Services. Dining Services also plans to switch to compostable utensils and to-go ware in the near future. All items will be composted by the University Agricultural Laboratory.

U Minnesota Video on Campus Composting Efforts

The University of Minnesota Dining Services Green Team has posted a video on their recent effort to teach students how to compost in the dining halls on campus. The initiative produced more than 80 tons of compost during the fall semester. The video also explains how the composted material from the dining halls is mixed with animal waste in a manure facility, and is then returned to the UM fields as fertilizer. The video also tells about a recent initiative to hand out compact florescent light bulbs on campus.

Eckerd College Switches to Reusable To-Go Containers

Eckerd College (FL) recently switched to using the EcoClamshell, a reusable to-go cafeteria container made out of a dishwasher-safe plastic material. Students can sign up for an EcoClamshell in the cafeteria during any meal. The student's account is charged five dollars, covering the student's four years at Eckerd, unless the container is lost or destroyed. The student checks out an EcoClamshell, fills it with food and exits the cafeteria. Upon returning to the cafeteria, the student checks the container back in and places it on the dishwasher conveyor, where it is sanitized and put out for reuse. The initiative is the result of a $32,000 grant from the Environmental Research and Education Foundation.

Culinary Institute of America Eliminates Paper Cups

The Culinary Institute of America (NY) has removed paper cups and lids in all of its student and staff dining facilities. The college had been using between 15,000 and 18,000 disposable cups a week in its student dining facilities alone. The CIA is encouraging students, faculty, and staff to use travel mugs or to-go bottles on campus.

Tulane U Dining Services Goes Trayless

Tulane University (LA) Dining Services recently removed trays from its dining facilities on campus. The initiative is an effort to reduce food waste, to conserve water that would be used to wash the trays, and to conserve energy that would normally be used to prepare more food. Additionally, the campus dining facilities now offer fresh Louisiana produce and seafood, recycled-content paper napkins, and environmentally friendly cleaning products.

Dalhousie U Implements Trayless Policy

Dalhousie University (NS) recently implemented a policy that eliminates trays from all four of its campus dining halls. The initiative serves to reduce food waste and water and detergent consumption during the cleaning process.

Schools Reduce Waste with Trayless Policies

Inside Higher Ed recently published an article on how colleges and universities are implementing no-tray policies in dining halls in order to reduce waste and save water. In experiments at Alfred University (NY), students found that a no-tray policy would reduce food and beverage waste by 30-50%. Customers with disabilities or those who need extra assistance are permitted to use trays.

U Western Ontario Switches to Biodegradable Food Packaging

As a result of efforts by the University Students' Council, the University of Western Ontario is transitioning from Styrofoam to 100% biodegradable food containers, plates, and garbage bags. The products, which come at no extra cost to students, are made mostly from sugar cane and corn starch and will biodegrade in 60 to 90 days.