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.