The list of Food & Recycling Leaders is comprised of 91 schools that earned “A” grades in this category. Below is a sample of ten very different institutions that all received high marks. These summaries are based on data from each school’s profile page.
Allegheny College’s dining service provider pledges that 40 percent of its food purchases are from local producers. The college hosts an annual local food banquet for the campus and local community. The college does not use any Styrofoam and all take-out containers are biodegradable. A large, on-campus facility composts food waste from one dining hall and food court, as well as landscaping waste. The college also has a recycling program.
At Ball State University (BSU) 30 percent of food purchases are from local sources, and dining services offers fair trade coffee and a variety of organic produce and baked goods. First-year students are provided with a free reusable shopping bag, and vendors offer discounts to patrons who bring a reusable beverage container. BSU operates a comprehensive recycling program.
Dining services at Boston College offers a variety of fair trade and organic products and works with numerous local growers and producers to purchase 28 percent of its food. The school uses biodegradable to-go products and has a composting program. The college’s comprehensive recycling program accepts all materials, including electronics, and has a 75 percent diversion rate.
In 2007, the California Institute of Technology purchased 60 percent of its produce from local sources and 5 percent of produce was organic. There are several on-campus gardens that provide produce to the main cafeteria and residence halls. Fresh olive oil, produced on campus, is sold in the campus store. Dining services uses biodegradable or recyclable to-go containers.
The University of Connecticut–Storrs dining services is the largest purchaser of locally grown produce in Connecticut. They contract with three local dairies and receive produce, eggs, honey, and ice cream from on-campus sources. This year, dining services invested in ten beehives, hosting more than 200,000 bees, the honey from which will be served on campus. Beverages purchased in reusable bottles or mugs are discounted.
Last year, Dalhousie University bought 30 percent of its food products locally, sourcing from about 30 local suppliers, including a dairy. The dining halls are trayless to conserve water, heating energy, and food waste, and all to-go containers are biodegradable. Recycling and composting programs are available at all locations on campus.
Duke University conducted an inventory of the environmental impact of the university’s dining facilities in order to implement environmental best practices. Dining services spends over one-third of their annual budget on local food, and campus eateries are evaluated annually on sustainability efforts. Duke Recycles conducts “Garbology” events during which recycling staff sort a building’s daily trash to raise awareness about materials that can be recycled.
Grinnell College's dining services uses local, organic products for most of its staple ingredients, including organic flour. Food compost is delivered to a local farmer, and yard waste is composted through the city of Grinnell. At the end of the school year, the college collects reusable items being disposed of by students and donates them to local thrift stores or sells them during orientation.
Dining services at the University of San Francisco works with 30 to 40 local producers, including a dairy, in addition to purchasing fair trade coffee and cage-free eggs. Compostable containers are available for take-out. A comprehensive recycling program diverts 67 percent of the university’s waste. Additionally, clothes, furniture, and art supplies are donated to local nonprofit distribution centers, and food waste is given to homeless shelters. Landscaping and food waste are composted.
As a policy, Washington State University’s (WSU) dining services prioritizes sourcing from local farms and only imports from outside the state if an item is not locally available. An on-campus orchard and farm provide seasonal produce, and the on-campus creamery provides cheese and ice cream. The recycling program has a 57 percent diversion rate and has approximately 1,500 collection areas across campus. Food and landscaping waste is composted at the WSU compost facility, and dining services offers compostable to-go containers.