University of Maryland Dining Services Environmental Programs and Practices

From Green Policy
Revision as of 03:36, 6 March 2008 by Tsmith (talk | contribs)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Type: Policy

Status: Ongoing

Source File:


Dining Services has a strong commitment to environmental protection.

Our approach is a comprehensive and ongoing process guided by campus and community experts. Our goal is to help ensure that resources used for today's needs remain available for future generations while meeting our current guests' needs in a cost effective, responsible manner.

1. Waste Reduction
Triple Filtered Water Purification – Stations in the seating areas of both resident dining rooms allow guests to refill reusable water bottles for free instead of purchasing single use bottled water.

Reusable Mugs – Partnering with Resident Life, reusable hot/cold mugs are being distributed to resident students for use with coffee, tea and fountain sodas at a reduced price in resident dining rooms, C-Stores and Satellite operations that accept the resident meal plan.

Cook to order – Small batch cooking (which is more operationally complex) results in higher food quality and dramatically reduces leftovers and waste.

Napkins – Have been relocated to dining room tables instead of the serving line resulting in 50% reduction in usage.

Micro-filtration -- In 2005, we began micro-filtration to extend the life of cooking oils. We have reduced the cooking oils use by over 50%.

Paperwork – The first full year of using Optix document management systems resulted in the use of 50,730 less sheets of paper.

2. Salvage and Reuse
Pre-consumer leftovers – While we strive to minimize unsold leftovers, food that may not be efficiently reused in a timely method but is still safe for consumption is donated to the DC Central Kitchen] for distribution to area homeless shelters.

Equipment and supplies – We send excess working, used equipment and supplies to Terrapin Trader for sale or we recycle the equipment within our units. Footnotes Cafe in McKeldin Library was built entirely from equipment and supplies that were repaired or modified for the space. 50% of the equipment used for expansion of the Commons Shop was reclaimed from other locations. Equipment that has outlived its useful life and cannot be repaired is dismantled and components are recycled.

3. Waste Recycling
Sugarcane based plates, cups, forks, spoons and knives that could be added to the compost program were tested during Maryland Day and the Student Affairs End of Year Celebration. Issues still exist with respect to cost, availability and capture into the composting stream but all items were well received by the users.

Dining Services works with EnviRelation LLC to compost pre- and post-consumer food wastes in the Diner and the South Campus Dining Room, the Stamp Student Union and Denton/Catering. Last year, the average amount of food waste that was composed each month increased from 10 tons to 16 tons during the academic year. We re-plant oyster shells in the Chesapeake Bay after every oyster roast to revitalize oyster beds. Composting is also being utilized at large special events including Maryland Day and the SGA Crab Fest.

Dining Service currently recycles the following items:

  • Cardboard (the resident Dining Rooms are the largest cardboard recycling source on campus)
  • Used Cooking Oils and Greases
  • Mixed Paper
  • Motor Oils
  • Batteries
  • Fluorescent Light Tubes
  • Glass
  • Refrigerants
  • Metals
  • Plastics
  • Toner Cartridges

17 Recycling containers and 4 recycling bins have been placed near the exits of campus dining locations to allow guests to recycle newspapers, mixed paper, bottles, plastic and glass.

All office workstations now have mixed paper-recycling bins.

Over 7,000 pounds of used cooking oils are sent to Smarter Fuel each month where they are converted to biodiesel fuel. Waste grease is sent to be recycled into other products.

4. Public Information/Education - Waste Recycling, Reuse and Reduction:

The Green Dining Program is featured on the D.S. website and on posters and promotional materials.

Dining Services teamed up with Cathy Guisewite, author of the comic strip “Cathy” to promote the use of tap water over bottled water. A “Cathy” Sunday comic was devoted to the environmental effect of disposable plastic water bottles and is used to promote the Triple Filtered Water Bottle Stations.

The “Why Bottle” campaign encourages guests in C-Stores and Satellite operations to utilize reusable mugs for fountain sodas rather than bottles.

Staff members participated with displays at Earth Day and by being panel members on sustainability discussions.

Dining Services works with RHA and other student groups to provide information and education on recycling and environmental concerns in general as well as specifically encouraging the guests of the Resident Dining Rooms to use china, glasses and flatware while eating IN the dining rooms. This objective is included in our orientation video, most publications and in posters and table tents at the start of each semester.

All staff now have written environmental and recycling expectations included in their performance review and development program and a portion of employee conferences is devoted to sessions on environmental issues, including composting and recycling.

Working with a Quest team from the Clark School of Engineering and the R. H. Smith School of Business, a post consumer compost material collection station was developed and tested in the Diner and at Maryland Day.

Greg Thompson, aka “Mr. Compost”, was featured in the campus sustainability report and the Diamondback for his composting work and his organic roof gardens that grow organic herbs using recycled materials; compost created by University food waste and irrigation from refrigeration condensation and recycled rain barrels.

Joe Mullineaux represented the non-traditional dining industry in the "getting Green" web seminar panel presented by Restaurants and Institutions and Chain Leader magazines which had over 1,000 restaurant professionals in attendance.

Joe Mullineaux also led a Green Dining panel at the National Association of College and University Food Services conference.

5. Energy and Water Conservation:
Dining Services is exploring exhaust hood technology from Intelli-Hood to reduce heating, cooling and electricity usage with variable control exhaust hoods. With this technology, the average cooking exhaust hood could reduce heating usage by 417,058 KBTU per year, cooling usage by 36,357 KBTU per year and electric usage by 26,130 KWHR per year. Dining Services has 12 exhaust hoods where this technology could be utilized.

All dishwashing machines and ware washing equipment have been replaced with energy efficient steam heated equipment that uses only 70% of the water required by the old machines. The steam used to heat the water is recycled. This saves approximately 80,000 gallons of water per month.

All water-cooled refrigerator systems have been replaced with air cooled systems or closed loop cooling tower systems. This eliminates the need for any water usage in the refrigeration systems that previously needed over 150,000 gallons of water yearly.

Energy efficient "Combi Ovens" have started replacing older gas convention ovens. These ovens are more efficient and the steam and convection cooking process cuts cooking time leading to greater energy savings.

In 2005, all the 31-year-old windows in South Campus Dining Hall were replaced with new energy-efficient insulated windows; the roof and ductwork in the Diner were insulated and inefficient air conditioning systems over 25 years old were replaced with energy efficient environmentally friendly systems. We anticipate this will reduce the energy required for heating and cooling by 10-15 %.

All incandescent lighting in productions, sotrage and office areas is being switched to compact flourescent bulbs as the older bulbs burn out.

All public restrooms and all storage areas have had motion detectors installed on lighting systems that automatically turn the lights off when the spaces are not in use

6. Building Design and Project Standards:
We work with campus design and construction professionals to ensure all buildings and remodeling projects are in compliance with campus regulations with respect to facility design and performance as well as construction methods and standards. Working with the Division of Student Affairs, we are developing standards to make all renovate facilities qualify for LEED certification.

7. Product Purchasing
The 700 cases of Paper Towels used annually contain a minimum of 90% recycled fiber with a minimum of 40% post consumer recycled fiber. The 1500 cases of dinner napkins and the 600 cases of cocktail napkins used annually contain a minimum of 95% recycled fiber.

Dining Services only purchases fish and seafood meeting the “best choices” or “good alternatives” categories for sustainability as determined by Seafood Watch or the Marine Stewardship Council.

Dining Services has evaluated the packaging of all its products from the manufacturers. We now require many suppliers, including Pepsi and Frito Lay, to reuse packaging in which their products are delivered.

We purchase many products, including ketchup and pickles in pouch packages that are lighter in weight and use less material than traditional packaging. This reduces the amount of waste, and the lighter weight saves fuel during shipping. We require our suppliers to pick up and reuse wood shipping pallets.

Our retail locations offer fair trade shade grown organic coffees at the same price as traditional coffees through a special arrangement with our supplier. Our dining rooms serve only fair trade coffee that is produced using environmentally friendly methods.

We are using bio-diesel fuels from cooking oils in all our diesel powered vehicles and are only purchasing new vehicles capable of utilizing alternative fuels including Compressed Natural Gas.

The Convenience Shops have started to switch the retail inventory of light bulbs from incandescent to compact fluorescent.

8. Outdoor Environment
Dining Services switched to biodegradable cleaning products for any areas where the products could reach the outside. We have constructed containment devices to prevent cooking oils from leaking and entering the streams or storm water collection.

We have converted or purchased over 1000 refrigeration systems to more environmentally friendly HCFC refrigerants. We have also replaced several vehicles with alternately fueled vehicles including Compressed Natural Gas.

9. Short Term and Long Term Goals:
We are working with Facilities Management to expand our recycling of glass and plastics. We are also continuing energy conservation programs and staff education.

We are currently having an assessment conducted to examine the feasibility of green roof technology for use during the upcoming renovating of Denton/Catering. This initiative could result in lowered energy use in these buildings, could cool the surrounding areas in the summer, provide a better view to students in nearby resident halls, clean the air and grow organic herbs for use in recipes.

We will begin the installation of a new Opti Rinse ® technology dish-machines, using "large droplet" S-shaped rinse to reduce water consumption by more than 50% and energy usage by more than 50% compared to our current high efficiency dish machines.

We are exploring hybrid electric trucks to replace aging gasoline powered trucks.

We will continue to explore cost effective carryout alternatives.

We are continuing to educate staff on their part in making our environmental plan work effectively.