Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 69.69
Liaison Barbara Kviz
Submission Date Feb. 7, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Carnegie Mellon University
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Pascal Petter
Director of Dining Services
Dining Administration
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a published sustainable dining policy?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainable dining policy:

Dining Services makes it a priority to implement programs and practices that are healthier for the campus community and the environment. Creating a more environmentally friendly dining program means diners with choices to help them minimize their impact on the environment. We also continue to increase the sustainability of our dining program to make Carnegie Mellon greener and help the Pittsburgh community.

Our dining vendors purchase foods from local farms and vendors to help support the Pittsburgh community, provide fresher foods, and cut down on pollution due to transportation. Chartwells, our new (2018) primary dining vendor, buys nearly 20 percent of their food from local vendors and serves milk from a local dairy at all of their locations. The Exchange also has local milk available for purchase. Many of our dining locations donate their excess food to local food banks.

Dining Services also works to help the larger global community. Many of our dining locations including The Exchange, La Prima Espresso, SEIber Café, Tazza D'Oro at Rohr Café, The Underground, and The Zebra Lounge serve fair trade coffee.

Many dining locations around campus serve organic products and hormone-free meat, which also helps to reduce use of pesticides and chemicals that can enter the environment.

All of the chicken served at Chartwells locations is hormone and antibiotic free.
Chartwells only offers fresh fluid milk and fresh yogurt from cows that have been certified to be free of the artificial growth hormones rBGH/rBST. All Chartwells locations serve only Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC) certified cage-free shell eggs nationwide.
Chartwells is committed to protecting the threatened global fish supply. In collaboration with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program, Chartwells established a landmark purchasing policy in 2006 that removes unsustainable wild and farmed seafood from its menus.

Responsible coffee production methods are certified in a variety of ways at Chartwells locations, including fair trade, Rainforest Alliance, Shade Grown, Bird Friendly, Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Practices, UTZ and organic.

In partnership with Dining Services, Chartwells is committed to offering compostable packaging and cutlery in catering operations (see more detail below).

The CMU community is also encouraged to reduce its environmental footprint by only purchasing food the community member will eat (reducing food waste) and by using the recycling bins provided at dining locations. Most dining locations are intentionally trayless, which has been found to reduce food waste on some college campuses by up to 50%.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor source food from a campus garden or farm?:
Yes

A brief description of the program to source food from a campus garden or farm:

Students maintain an urban garden one block from campus. The primary vendor has committed to using produce and herbs from the garden in the campus program.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host a farmers market, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery program, and/or urban agriculture project, or support such a program in the local community?:
Yes

A brief description of the farmers market, CSA or urban agriculture project:

CMU undergraduate architecture students in Professor Josh Bard's studio have built urban agriculture hoop houses in Pittsburgh neighborhoods for the past four years. The studio explores issues of urban agriculture in post-industrial cities or “how architecture can help shape the built environment around these emerging practices." In 2018, the students collaborated with Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Garden to build winter gardens at the Conservatory: https://gardens.everybodyshops.com/innovative-cold-frame/ In 2016, the students worked in Larimer, a low-income community. More information about the studio and its work is available at https://soa.cmu.edu/2-fall/

In addition, in 2016, students from the Tepper School of Business formed a spin-off company, RoBotany, to create fully automated, urban vertical farms in abandoned industrial buildings. https://www.cmu.edu/energy/news-multimedia/2018/robotany.html


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a vegan dining program that makes diverse, complete-protein vegan options available to every member of the campus community at every meal?:
Yes

A brief description of the vegan dining program:

The campus dining program has several vendors that provide protein vegan offerings available to the entire campus community throughout the day. Rooted, one of Chartwells locations, is focused on real, wholesome foods with completely plant-based ingredients. We also have Meatless Mondays, offer Fair Trade Coffee, sustainable dining programs, eco-friendly vending program, and farmers market on campus.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host low impact dining events (e.g. Meatless Mondays)?:
Yes

A brief description of the low impact dining events:

In addition to Meatless Mondays events, Chartwells offers guests delicious options with a consciously designed menu that emphasizes less meat and more produce and whole grains. From vegan biscuits and gravy to Chartwells signature Chickpea Burger, the cafe' offers dinner classics with a healthy and meatless twist.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host sustainability-themed meals (e.g. local harvest dinners)?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainability-themed meals:

Beginning in 2018 with CMU's new primary dining vendor, Chartwells, the University Center Cohon Marketplace offers two such options:

Rooted: CMU’s all-new vegan station focused on real, wholesome foods with minimally-processed ingredients that are completely plant-based.

Realwhich: a new concept for CMU and the first in the country for Chartwells. In partnership with Applegate, this deli concept will feature seasonal sandwiches that incorporate local, artisanal breads, leafy greens, colorful vegetables and reduced-fat cheeses. All Applegate proteins are 100% hormone and antibiotic free.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host a sustainability-themed food outlet on-site, either independently or in partnership with a contractor or retailer?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainability-themed food outlet:

Beginning the fall of 2018, Chartwells and Carnegie Mellon Dining Services began rolling out a program to offer compostable packaging in all Chartwells locations: take out containers 100% BPI-certified compostable and made from renewable resources; cold drink cups made from plant sources, grown in the USA and annually renewable; and take out cutlery made from earth-friendly, renewable CPLA (Crystalized Polylactic Acid), which is compostable as well.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor inform customers about low impact food choices and sustainability practices through labeling and signage in dining halls?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainability labeling and signage in dining halls:

To reduce landfill waste, dining halls and other food service locations on campus have well-labeled and separate containers for compostables, recylclables, and landfill waste.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor engage in outreach efforts to support learning and research about sustainable food systems?:
Yes

A brief description of the outreach efforts to support learning and research about sustainable food systems:

Stop Food Waste Day 2018: Dining Services held a Stop Food Waste Day Waste Warrior Challenge, Friday, April 27, 11 am - 12 pm in Wean Commons. Students, Staff, and Visitors watched as CulinArt chefs went head-to-head and competed to make the most delicious and creative dish using would-be wasted food. CulinArt's on-site Chef Vic squared off with Chef Peter Klein, CulinArt's Director of Culinary Development, to help spread the word about combating food waste. Delicious samples were tasted, and recipe ideas were taken home along with free giveaways!

A similar event was also held in 2017.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have other sustainability-related initiatives (e.g. health and wellness initiatives, making culturally diverse options available)?:
Yes

A brief description of the other sustainability-related dining initiatives:

Dining Services annually celebrates National Nutrition Month. In 2018, a Meal Planning 101 Lunch and Learn was held along with the themed Go Further With Food Extravaganza which included complimentary build-your-own superfoods bowl, This serves as a healthy eating resource fair with free food and information about fueling for fitness, building a healthy plate, eating mindfully, and dining more sustainability.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor participate in a competition or commitment program and/or use a food waste prevention system to track and improve its food management practices?:
Yes

A brief description of the food recovery competition or commitment program or food waste prevention system:

In 2018, Dining Services used LeanPath food waste tracking system in CulinArt Locations. LeanPath provides food waste technology that enabled CulinArt to dramatically reduce food waste and operate more sustainable facilities. Additionally, 412 Food Rescue, co-founded by CMU Heinz College graduate, Leah Lizarondo, three year ago, picks up healthy surplus food from CMU (and other locations) and delivers it to community nonprofit organizations, where it is directed to individuals and families experiencing food insecurity. Pick-ups from CMU began in 2017 and occur in multiple locations on campus, but most regularly from the University Center. Five days/week, Tues-Sat, 412 picks up at least five trays of frozen or refrigerated prepared food from the University Center loading dock. The school installed refrigerators to store the food donations.
https://www.cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2018/november/412-food-rescue.html.

Since January of 2018 412 Food Rescue collected 11,289 lbs from CMU which has gone to 28 nonprofit partners. That's the equivalent of 9,407 meals and 6,129 lbs of CO2 redirected. The partners who have received the food have included housing sites to residential facilities for individuals coming out of homelessness, after school programs, veterans programs, shelters and feeding programs.


Has the institution or its primary dining services contractor implemented trayless dining (in which trays are removed from or not available in dining halls) and/or modified menus/portions to reduce post-consumer food waste?:
Yes

A brief description of the trayless dining or modified menu/portion program:

All student dining is 100 % trayless. The faculty and staff lunch program at one of our dining locations makes trays available to accommodate faculty members upon request.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor donate food that would otherwise go to waste to feed people?:
Yes

A brief description of the food donation program:

See information above about 412 Food Rescue, In addition, many campus dining locations donate their excess food to local food banks and church’s. Vendors donate to community-based non-profit feeding programs, including The Light of Life Rescue Mission and the East End Cooperative Ministry. Data is not available on the actual donation amounts; however vendors are quite effective at controlling the amount of waste therefore, donations are limited and occur primarily after large-scale events.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor divert food materials from the landfill, incinerator or sewer for animal feed or industrial uses (e.g. converting cooking oil to fuel, on-site anaerobic digestion)?:
Yes

A brief description of the food materials diversion program:

Used cooking oils are collected at our dining locations and picked-up by a vendor who processes it into fuel.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a pre-consumer composting program?:
Yes

A brief description of the pre-consumer composting program:

All dining locations throughout campus are currently participating in the pre-consumer composting program. This includes Tazza D’oro locations and LaPrima who are both participating with composting their coffee grinds.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a post-consumer composting program?:
Yes

A brief description of the post-consumer composting program:

All vendors, at their discretion, are encouraged to use the compost dumpsters at the Cohon University Center, Gates Hillman Complex, GSIA, Resnik, Morewood Gardens, Newell Simon Hall and Tepper School Building. While no policies are formally set, some vendors utilize the dumpsters. Several departments collect food waste and hold zero waste events, where all waste generated can be composted. Post consumer food collection was added to the custodial contract and awarded in July 2012 and a post-consumer food composting program was implemented January 2013. As of this submission, we have 50+ locations on campus with post-consumer food composting collection bins.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor utilize reusable service ware for “dine in” meals?:
Yes

A brief description of the reusable service ware program:

Schatz Dining room uses re-useable service ware for faculty & staff lunches and has a food composting station set up in the dining hall. Students use this dining room for breakfast and compostable bowls are used. Several vendors have switched to reduced packaging for to-go containers and one food vendor is using compostable containers.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor provide reusable and/or third party certified compostable containers and service ware for “to-go” meals (in conjunction with an on-site composting program)?:
Yes

A brief description of the compostable containers and service ware:

Dining Services has a few locations, and is looking to expand in this area, in which the Grab-n-Go or ""to go"" meals are placed in compostable containers with compostable service ware available.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor offer discounts or other incentives to customers who use reusable containers (e.g. mugs) instead of disposable or compostable containers in “to-go” food service operations?:
Yes

A brief description of the reusable container discount or incentives program:

Dining vendors on campus are currently implementing their own reusable beverage cup programs. There are also compostable cornstarch cups in use university-wide. Compostable serve ware and utensils are available as an option in university-catered events.

In addition, Dining Services has implemented a reusable coffee mug discount program named ""Scotty Sips"


Has the institution or its primary dining services contractor implemented other materials management initiatives to minimize waste not covered above (e.g. working with vendors and other entities to reduce waste from food packaging)?:
Yes

A brief description of other dining services materials management initiatives:

In 2018, CMU's Green Practices Committee adopted a Zero-Waste Food Vendors goal to increase the number of zero waste vendors on campus. Staff, faculty and students volunteer their time to work on goal teams and this team will continue its work in 2019.

The Staff Council Sustainability Committee drafted, voted and passed an Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Packaging Reduction Resolution in 2017. In 2018, the resolution was introduced to the Faculty Senate, the Graduate Student Assembly and the Undergraduate Student Senate and they voted and passed their own versions of the EPS packaging reduction resolution. Copies of their resolutions and a cover letter for off campus food truck vendors, can be found online at the Environment at CMU website. https://www.cmu.edu/environment/


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.