Through Green Thread, our environmental sustainability platform, we bring innovative and efficient solutions to life. We are passionately focused on reducing the environmental impact within our operations.
Here are just a few ways we work to make our campus more environmentally conscious.
Local & Responsibly Sourced Products
Whenever possible, Dining Services purchases from local companies including Amoroso’s Baking Company, BakeMark, Botto’s Family Authentic Italian Specialties, Herr’s Foods, Hy-Point Dairy, J. Ambrogi Foods, Philly Pretzel Factory, Rockland Bakery, Samuels Seafood, Sysco of Maryland Tasty Baking Company and many more.
Every Friday in our Caesar Rodney Fresh Food Company a special menu item features sustainable seafood. The seafood is sourced through practices that conserve the health of ocean ecosystems and follow Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch standards.
Celebrating its tenth season this summer, the University of Delaware’s Farmers Market is held at Mentors’ Circle every Thursday beginning in June. The market offers a wide variety of locally grown produce, baked goods, and fresh flowers. It also includes a Chef’s Table where visitors can sample and take home unique summer recipes.
Dining Services partners with the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) in presenting its annual Fall Fest, a celebration of harvest from all campus farms. UDairy Creamery’s hand dipped ice cream has been served exclusively in all residential dining locations since 2010 and we are currently working with UD’s farmers to soon be able to use the produce grown on campus and the cheese produced by UDairy in our recipes.
Event equipment, staffing, flowers, and supplies for catered events can also be sourced from local vendors.
Reducing & Recycling
In partnership with UD Sustainability, Dining Services researched and installed digester systems, which are the first in the state of Delaware. Two systems convert food waste to nitrogen-enriched brown water that can be collected for use as fertilizer, reducing both pre- and post-consumer waste in landfill. 252,147 pounds of waste was diverted in 2018. The units are currently being used in county and state studies for potential new standards.
Dining Services has served as a campus leader in Recyclemania as well as single-stream recycling through the University.
New solutions to reduce single-use plastics were recently introduced across campus.
All three residential dining locations now offer reusable to-go containers for take-out meals and we reduced plastic straw use in all dining locations with Sip Smarter, which encourages students to opt out of using a straw. UD Catering also removed plastic straws across all operations.
Students who bring and choose to use their own reusable mug at retail dining locations receive a discount on their beverage.
We also offer several hydration stations throughout campus. Use the filtered water stations to refresh and refuel while helping to impact your carbon footprint.
Reducing Fuel Usage and Emissions
Throughout campus, efficient equipment is purchased at dining locations, as replacements are needed.
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.
Conserving Natural Resources
In 2015, the Caesar Rodney Fresh Food Company was designed with sustainability at its core. This residential dining location 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.
We train our employees each semester on common energy and water conservation practices in order to conserve precious natural resources.
Fewer than 2 percent of Dining Services employees on campus receive a paper check.
Reuse Pass Program
Join the reuse revolution!
Starting this Fall Dining Services has launched a new reusable to-go container program – Reuse Pass – to reduce packaging waste. This innovative initiative aims to reduce single-use plastic waste and promote sustainable practices among our students, visitors, faculty and staff. Get ready to embrace a greener lifestyle with the Reuse Pass!
The Reuse Pass program will be available at CR Fresh food company, Russell Dining Hall, Pencader Dining Hall, Ecogrounds, and Greens to Go. This year marks the beginning of this sustainability-focused initiative, and we look forward to expanding it to other locations on campus in the future.
Here's how the program works: Each to-go container will feature a unique QR code. To participate, students simply need to register with their Grubhub app and affiliate their student account with the program. Once registered, they will receive their own personalized QR code. When students wish to take their meals to-go, they present their app with the QR code to the cashier. The cashier will scan both the student's code and the container's QR code, linking the container to the student's account. Students can then enjoy their meal outside the dining hall. Learn more about Reuse Pass.