UD SUSTAINABLE OPERATIONS
FOOD AND DINING
In our 2020 AASHE STARS Report, we reported for two subcategories within the overarching ‘Food and Dining’ categories, and Food is one of our seven E.C.O. Wheel categories and an important part of our Sustainability Plan. In AASHE STARS, the University of Delaware scored the following for the two Food and Dining subcategories:
FROM THE SUSTAINABILITY PLAN
About Food & Dining: Providing sustainable and ethically-sourced dining options has a direct impact on the environment and well-being of students. Purchasing and producing locally-grown food not only leads to healthier meals but it also empowers local economies and food markets.
Current State of Food & Dining: The University of Delaware makes an effort to purchase food from local businesses such as BakeMark, Herr’s Foods, and Hy-Point Dairy. Dining Services partners with the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) in hosting several harvesting and gardening events and uses ice cream produced locally from the UDairy Creamery. UD’s main food service provider, Aramark, has pledged to purchase 100% of their seafood from companies that meet the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program recommendations. However, there are key opportunities that UD is not utilizing to reduce our meat consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
About Packaging & Utensils: Single-use plastics and non-recyclable trash contribute to environmental degradation and endangers animals that accidentally consume or get caught in plastic packaging. The use of sustainable packaging and utensils will abate these issues as well as decrease the carbon emissions that result from producing plastics.
Current State of Packaging & Utensils: UD currently offers reusable to-go containers, Sip Smarter dining locations where students can opt-out of using a straw, and have hydration stations where water bottles can be refilled. Residential dining saves water by going tray-less and use napkins made from 100% recyclable materials.
Collaborate and negotiate with Aramark to:
- Increase purchase of local foods.
- Increase plant-based food options.
- Increase recovery of food waste at dining halls.
- Reduce single-use plastics by 50% by 2024 and develop a plan to eliminate all single-use plastics by 2026.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR INVOLVEMENT
Sustainable Dining at UD
- University of Delaware’s Farmers Market is held at Mentors’ Circle every Thursday beginning in June.
- Dining Services partners with the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) to provide locally sourced produce and dairy products.
- In partnership with UD Sustainability, Dining Services researched and installed digester systems. 252,147 pounds of waste was diverted in 2018.
- All three residential dining locations now offer reusable to-go containers for take-out meals.
- UD Catering also removed plastic straws across all operations.
- UD dining locations convert fryer oil waste into biodiesel fuel, which is then used by the University for transportation. In 2018, we saved 3,996 gallons of oil, which is the equivalent of planting 4,955 trees.
- All dining locations are committed to using environmentally friendly green cleaning products in our operations.
- Caesar Rodney Fresh Food Company conserves natural resources by employing energy-efficient ventilation and LED lighting systems that automatically adjust based on demand. Each industrial-styled Emeco chair is composed of 111 recycled bottles, and reclaimed wood was used throughout its kitchen casework and ceiling.
- Residential dining halls are tray-less, which saves one-third to one-half gallon of water per tray.
- All disposable napkins are made from 100 percent recycled materials.