Western Washington competing in RecycleMania

Competition promotes recycling and composting on college campuses.

March 6—Lucas Minor, Aramark Higher Education’s marketing manager, said in an email that University Dining Services at Western Washington University is committed to minimizing Western’s environmental footprint by “fostering a culture that reduces, reuses, and recycles waste.”

Western will participate as part of Zero Waste Western, an Associated Students Recycle Center program that aims to eliminate waste on campus. Dining services plans to divert as much waste as possible so that 100 percent of products can be recycled, composted and diverted from landfills, Minor said.

“This includes composting and the recycling of paper, metal, plastic, cardboard and 100 percent of our fryer oil used by the dining services,” he said.

On an average weekday, eight to nine 60-gallon compost carriers are filled amongst the three dining commons, Minor said.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
vote buttons pins

On every other Thursday of our four-week cycle menu, we allow K-8 students to pick the entree choices. The media center specialist for each of the participating schools sets up the list of entree items on a computer for voting, and the winning entrees are given to cafeteria managers two weeks before the upcoming month to put into production. Students really like this, as it promotes ownership of the menu.

Ideas and Innovation
chalkboard

We highlight our North Carolina products on a large chalkboard in our dining halls, and also list any produce we bring in from our own agroecology farm. It helps tell our story—positive and local.

Ideas and Innovation
raised garden beds

We have raised garden beds that residents can reserve and use to grow their own plants. Whenever a resident brings me fresh produce from their own garden, I try and incorporate it into a dish. If I do end up using it, I will display the resident’s name and what the produce was next to the dish on the menu.

Ideas and Innovation
chartwells teaching kids

Curriculum for the mobile teaching kitchen centers around a single kid-friendly recipe, using ingredients that can provide talking points for nutrition, sustainability and food origins. “The recipe is the lesson,” Saidel says. “Every ingredient is an opportunity to talk.”

Earlier this year, Saidel, Perkins and Harvey did a student demo featuring roasted chicken and white bean tacos with greens and citrus salsa. “We can say, ‘Why are we using chicken instead of beef? Why are there some beans in here?’ You can talk about plant proteins and the sustainability and health message around...

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