The Food & Recycling category examines dining services policies for responsible food procurement, as well as schools' waste management practices. Points are given based on the quantity and availability of organic and sustainably produced food, as well as locally grown food, taking into account geographic region.
Efforts to minimize waste are examined, both within dining facilities and throughout the institution as a whole. This includes the availability of reusable dishware, as well as financial incentives to choose these instead of a disposable option; eliminating trays to reduce food waste and save energy and water; and food composting. The category also examines recycling programs and source reduction initiatives that advocate reuse or donation of materials instead of sending them to the landfill.
- More than four in five schools buy food from local sources. An impressive 83 percent of the schools devote at least a portion of their food budgets to buying from local farms and/or producers.
- Nearly two-thirds of the schools have a community garden or farm on campus. Campus community gardens and farms are maintained by 61 percent of the schools.
- Approximately nine in ten schools offer fair trade coffee and other food items. Fair trade coffee and other fair trade food items are available at 91 percent of the schools.
- Over half of the schools compost food waste. Pre- and postconsumer food waste composting programs exist at 55 percent of the schools.
- Schools are offering food to match different dietary needs and preferences. Vegan options are offered on a daily basis at 83 percent of the schools.
- A large majority of schools (64 percent) report purchasing at least some cage-free eggs. Of these, 33 percent (70 schools) report purchasing all cage-free eggs.
- Two-thirds of the schools have instituted trayless dining programs. Sixty-seven percent of the schools have reduced their energy and food waste by eliminating trays in their dining facilities.
- The average grade for the Food & Recycling category is “B.” For a summary of grade distribution for this category, please refer to the chart on the right.
Leading by Example
Nearly two-thirds of the schools have a community garden or farm on campus.