2009 Environmental Survey: Paler shade of green

FoodService Director's first Environmental Study find out how operators are tackling sustainability.

Compostable disposables: Once the compost program is up and running, the campus’s earlier switch to biodegradable and compostable disposables will start having an effect on the college’s waste diversion rates. Dining Services began the switch in the fall of 2006.

“We basically had a meeting with our paper supplier and we asked them to take a look at all the items that we buy from them and asked them to find sustainable alternatives,” Plascencia says. “Thankfully, they came up with a lot of products that are compostable. We now use fiberboard plates and hinged containers, and we recently switched to sugar cane utensils from potato-based since they tend to hold better. By total purchases, 45 cents of every dollar goes to these products. When we first switched, the costs were projected to increase by about $16,000 over purchases of $320,000, so it was good that our housing director was OK with that knowing it was the right thing to do. But we’re actually spending more than that now because we opened new facilities.”

Because Riverside lacked a compostable program, the containers have been going directly to the landfill. Plascencia says the department is planning to add the disposable containers to the compost pile once the Athens program is in place.

“Once our composting program gets going, the food waste and these containers can be composted together,” Plascencia says. “In the residential dining facilities, we usually use china and glassware, but occasionally we’ll use paper products for special events. In the retail locations, it’s more difficult because the students don’t stay and eat in those locations so the ultimate goal is to have the collection containers all over campus.”

Taking to trayless: Another important step in achieving the waste diversion goals was trayless dining, which the university fully implemented at the beginning of the current school year.

“We eliminated trays starting last summer during conferences to see how students would react,” Plascencia says. “The only complaints we heard were from returning students and staff. So we decided to go completely trayless in the fall and we’ve received no complaints. In 2003 we measured the food waste for one week at our two residential dining halls and found that students were throwing away about 1,000 pounds per day at both locations. After going trayless, the daily average for each dining hall was 800 pounds.”

The department has also reduced waste by moving the napkin dispensers to each table, which tends to make the students take fewer napkins.

“When we had them with the trays, they’d grab up to seven and then they’d use four and the rest would end up in the trash,” Plascencia says. “Now that the napkins are at the tables, the students are only using the two or three that they need.”

More From FoodService Director

Menu Development
usa map regions

From global flavors to clean labels, it’s clear that some buzzworthy noncommercial menu trends are universal. But FoodService Director ’s 2016 surveys have revealed some noteworthy differences within segments in the Northeast, South, Midwest and West regions. We combed through data from our College and University Census, Hospital Census and Long-Term Care/Senior Living Census for the most surprising variations in menu trends and expectations.

1. Plant-based dishes are on the rise at Midwestern colleges and universities

Seventy-seven percent of C&U operators in this region say...

Industry News & Opinion

Ithaca College is turning to new solutions to address overcrowding at a dining hall that is already understaffed, The Ithacan reports .

The Ithaca, N.Y., school's Terrace Dining Hall has seen a large influx of students this year after being renovated, causing lines to wrap around the dining hall.

To ease congestion, Sodexo Area General Manager Jeffrey Scott told The Ithacan that the eatery has added a separate entree line, as well as signage displaying menu items at less-crowded food stations in an effort to draw students to the other side of the dining hall.

The...

Menu Development
mac cheese pizza

Anybody think the popularity of mac and cheese has played out? Anyone?

More likely, foodservice directors are trying to bake new life into the comfort staple by tweaking the presentation and components. Here’s a snapshot of how that rejuvenation effort looks in streetside restaurants.

Industry News & Opinion

Noncommercial foodservice operations and other employers would be spared from costly new overtime pay regulations if 21 states succeed in the legal challenge they jointly filed yesterday.

The lawsuit asks the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas to set aside the rules, which are scheduled to take effect on Dec. 1.

If the court rejects the request, restaurants and other businesses will be required after that date to pay overtime to any salaried employee who works more than 40 hours in a week and earns less than $47,476 on an annual basis.

The...

FSD Resources