FSD's 2011 Environmental Study

Buying local helps earth, say operators.

The percentage of operators who see buying local, sustainable and/or organic products as a way to help the environment continues to grow, according to the results of our third Environmental Survey.

2011 Environmental Study: Recycling Tops List


  • This year, 53% of survey respondents said they follow this popular practice, compared with 47% last year and only 34% the year before.
  • Recycling continues to be the No. 1 environmental practice, with 85% of operators recycling at least some items. Paper and cardboard (93%) remain the most recycled materials, followed by plastic (76%), metal (62%), glass (59%), oil (56%), batteries (39%) and polystyrene (15%).
  • Other environmental practices cited in our survey were collecting oil for biodiesel conversion (44%), eliminating disposables (28%), using water flow restrictors (26%) and composting (24%). Other environmental programs mentioned by at least one respondent included supplying food waste to hog farms, pulping trash to reduce its volume and going trayless.
  • Only 4% of respondents said they don’t participate in any environmental programs. Most of those respondents cited cost, lack of administrative support or being located in an area where options such as recycling are not available.
  • Using environmentally friendly (e.g., compostable) serviceware is one option being pursued by 43% of operators. Even though such disposable items are more expensive than typical plastic serviceware, only 17% choose to pass the extra cost onto their customers.
  • For those who don’t make use of this type of disposable ware, cost is the reason most cited (71%). Other reasons given include lack of convenient locations to recycle or compost (31%), customers aren’t asking for them (16%) and such products aren’t available in their area (12%).

2011 Environmental Study: What Operators Recycle

  • Seventy-one percent of operators said they market their environmental efforts. Most of those (62%) do it through posters, handouts and other tools. The institution’s or company’s website is a vehicle used by 36% of operators to market these efforts, and 23% use contests and giveaways as the way to pass on the message.
  • Although not all foodservice operators are able to practice environmental awareness in their workplaces, all respondents said they take steps in their personal lives to help the environment. Recycling (89%) and conserving energy (86%) are the actions most often cited. These are followed by water conservation (67%), buying local, sustainable and/or organic items (50%), maintaining a garden (48%) and buying “green” products (42%).
  • When it comes to transportation, 45% of respondents indicated they drive less, while 35% said they are driving vehicles that are more fuel efficient. Finally, 24% of operators compost at home.
  • Waste continues to be the top environmental problem facing the earth, according to operators, with 37% citing this as the No. 1 challenge. Water pollution is second, at 21%, followed by global warming (20%), air pollution (11%), loss of the ozone layer (5%), animal extinction (3%) and acid rain (1%).

2011 Environmental Study: Environmental Issues

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Just over 100 foodservice workers at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., have voted to join a branch of the Service Employees International Union, KIMT reports.

SEIU Healthcare Minnesota said that 89% of the ballots cast during last week’s election were in favor of unionizing.

The workers are employed by Sodexo, Mayo Clinic’s current foodservice vendor. The clinic recently announced plans to switch vendors to Morrison Healthcare Food Services, a move that has sparked backlash from workers and led to a lawsuit from the SEIU .

Read the full story via kimt.com .

Sponsored Content
pasta dish from NC State

From Barilla.

Good-for-you food doesn’t do much good if it’s a hard sell to get diners to eat it. Luckily, pasta is nearly always a crowd-pleaser, especially with student athletes who benefit from its nutritional boost.

“One thing about pasta is that students like it,” says Lisa Eberhart, a registered dietician and director of nutrition and wellness for North Carolina State University, where they serve Barilla pasta. “It’s also a great source of slow-burning carbohydrates.”

In fact, 57% of Gen Z consumers and 58% of millennials call pasta a “preferred food,”...

Industry News & Opinion

The Los Angeles Unified School District has lifted its ban on flavored milk in an effort to reduce food waste, the Los Angeles Times reports.

After implementing the ban in 2011, the district noticed that many students would simply throw away their unused milk containers, causing them to end up in landfills. In order to combat the problem, the district’s board is launching a four-part study in 21 schools that will examine different ways to encourage kids to drink more plain milk.

One of the theories proposed is that students will be more likely to drink plain milk if they...

Industry News & Opinion

As Harvard University’s dining staff strike continues , the school has added an extra $25 to student accounts, providing more flexibility for students to eat outside of the dining halls, The Harvard Crimson reports.

The extra funds were added to Crimson Cash and BoardPlus accounts, which students can use to pay for food both on and off campus.

Aside from some technical issues with payment processing, students are grateful for the extra money, according to The Harvard Crimson.

Since the strike began two weeks ago, students have complained about food quality in the...

FSD Resources