|Submission Date||March 1, 2019|
University of Richmond
OP-8: Sustainable Dining
|2.00 / 2.00||
Director of Sustainability
Office for Sustainability
Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a published sustainable dining policy?:
A brief description of the sustainable dining policy:
Dining Services follows Green Purchasing Guidelines, which incorporate environmental criteria as part of normal purchasing evaluation, in addition to product safety, price, performance and availability including but not limited to:
- Purchasing from environmentally and socially responsible companies that are HACCP certified.
- Using non-bleached napkins that meet or exceed the EPA Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines for minimum post-consumer fiber content.
- Use of recycled-content paper towels and toilet paper.
- Conveying our buying preference for local, recycled, and sustainable materials.
- Developing relationships with manufacturers who are committed to supporting sustainability initiatives and have good environmental track records.
- Including a diverse group of vendors including minority, locally, and regionally owned vendors.
- Encouraging paperless statements and billing from vendors.
- Focusing procurement efforts only on products with an "Energy Star" rating when available.
- Encouraging suppliers to minimize packaging to eliminate excess waste while maintaining strength (consistent with care of the product). When possible, packaging should be made of recycled materials.
- Specifying concentrated solid products versus "ready to use" products reducing packaging, waste, and transportation costs.
- Limit procurement of 5 gallon pails and No. 10 cans, and opting for bag-in-box, shrink-wrapped products as they become available to reduce excessive packaging.
- Minimizing use of disposable dinnerware in the Heilman Dining Center and for catered events whenever feasible. If the style of the event requires disposable or picnic style tableware, we will purchase environmentally friendly products that are made from recycled materials or from raw materials obtained in an environmentally sound, sustainable manner by companies with good environmental track records. These items must be recyclable or, if not, may be disposed of safely.
In depth information on the University’s sustainable dining policies are published online at dining.richmond.edu/sustainability. Subcategories of further explanation include “Green Purchasing,” “Energy Conservation,” “Recycling and Waste Management,” and “Our Responsibilities,” “Community Involvement." Some of the information outlined in this online resource includes dining purchasing guidelines for sourcing from certified sustainable and ethical companies, standards for appliances, cooking methods that aim to reduce waste, ways to volunteer with locally food insecure communities, and a list of sixteen specific ways students can encourage sustainability on campus.
Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor source food from a campus garden or farm?:
A brief description of the program to source food from a campus garden or farm:
There is a small herb adjacent to the Dining Hall that is garden grown in partnership with the Landscape Manager.
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?:
A brief description of the farmers market, CSA or urban agriculture project:
The University provided office delivery of produce and more through Seasonal Roots, an online farmer’s market that delivered to campus every week. Seasonal Roots offered local produce, dairy, bread, meat, honey and more, either through a membership, which was paid for by the University.
We are committed to strengthening our ties to our local community by purchasing regionally produced items, such as Virginia Grown or Virginia's Best products when available and affordably priced.
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?:
A brief description of the vegan dining program:
At the Heilman Dining Center, vegan proteins are available at every made-to-order station with dedicated vegan pots and pans to avoid cross-contamination. The dining hall uses dietary symbols to indicate which foods are vegan. Hot vegan selections are available everyday for lunch and dinner at the Grains and Greens station. The stir fry, panini, custom salad, and custom pasta stations prepare entrees to order which increases vegetarian and vegan options. The salad bar includes varied vegetables, beans, tofu, hummus, and an assortment of fresh fruit options. Soy and/or nut milk and vegan cheeses are always available.
Retail dining locations, including Lou's, Passport Cafe, the Cellar, and Tyler's, offer vegan and vegetarian options, which are noted on the menus or sign boards.
Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host low impact dining events (e.g. Meatless Mondays)?:
A brief description of the low impact dining events:
Tyler’s Grill, one of the on campus food retailers, has a meatless monday special every week, encouraging reduction of meat consumption on campus by offering a delicious vegetarian option every week. Passport Cafe's weekly special is always vegan or vegetarian, focusing primarily on international cuisine. On Tuesdays and Thursdays in the dining hall, the University’s main dining facility serving all three meals a day, blended burgers (sixty percent beef to forty percent mushroom) are served in place of regular beef hamburgers. (The University is looking into completely switching all hamburger/cheeseburger options to blended burgers.)
Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host sustainability-themed meals (e.g. local harvest dinners)?:
A brief description of the sustainability-themed meals:
The University has a yearlong initiative called, “live well, dine green,” focused on incorporating healthier, more sustainable, food options into the lives of students and encouraging the overall well being of the campus community. Themes like local tofu, local winter vegetables, and fresh strawberries invite staff, students and faculty to learn more about their food and its origins.
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?:
A brief description of the sustainability-themed food outlet:
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?:
A brief description of the sustainability labeling and signage in dining halls:
In and around the University Dining Hall, there are signs that describe sustainable practices, including which food items produce the most waste, items that contribute the most carbon dioxide, and local sources of common food provided. Signs also promote the subjects highlighted by the the University’s “Live Well, Dine Green” initiative.
In some of the retail locations, local foods are labeled and promoted.
In all dining facilities on campus, divided, color coded, and labelled landfill and recycling bins are present. On all bins, there are graphics detailing which types of items belong in each bin. In addition, at different retail vendors on campus, site specific signs are present detailing which part of specific food waste products belong in each bin. For example, in and around Eight Fifteen Cafe, the University’s on campus coffee shop, there are signs saying which parts of the coffee cups (lid, heat sleeve, cup) go in which bin.
Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor engage in outreach efforts to support learning and research about sustainable food systems?:
A brief description of the outreach efforts to support learning and research about sustainable food systems:
Members of the dining management and administrative team take regular tours of local farms where the University sources some of its products from. The University also collaborates with “Real, Local,” an organization of small farms and vendors in the immediate proximity of campus who are looking to sell their items of the University campus. The University is looking into replacing its current “blended burgers,” the 60% beef, 40% mushroom burgers served on alternating days in the dining hall, with similar blended burgers produced by a local farm.
"Live well, dine green" also supports learning about sustainable food systems.
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)?:
A brief description of the other sustainability-related dining initiatives:
The University hosts an International Week each year, co-sponsored by the Office of International Education and the Office of Sustainability. The week includes events aimed at educating University community members about a specific country. In 2018, the University celebrated South Africa with South Africa-inspired actions, events, and activities. Inspired by its diversity of cultures and breathtaking natural environment, we created the South Africa Sustainability Challenge, powered by the Campus EcoChallenge. The Dining Hall hosted multiple South Africa themed events, including an elaborate dinner that highlighted cuisine of the region and promoted the themes in the challenge: nature, water, community, waste, and energy.
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?:
A brief description of the food recovery competition or commitment program or food waste prevention system:
Each Friday, an intern in the Office for Sustainability coordinates with dining managers across campus to pock up food from venues that are not open during the weekend. This food is brought to a food pantry at a nearby church. Each semester, about 1,500 pounds of food is recovered and donated.
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?:
A brief description of the trayless dining or modified menu/portion program:
All on campus eateries except for the University dining hall are trayless.
The University has been actively examining the sizing of its protein portions before being offered to students and making adjustments as they go. In 2018, for example, the Dining Hall reduced salmon portions from 5 oz. to 3 oz. servings.
The dining hall has made multiple attempts at trayless dining, but needs to re-engineer the current tray return system in order to make this work.
Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor donate food that would otherwise go to waste to feed people?:
A brief description of the food donation program:
Catering and Dining Services have a stated goal of booking no more than will be eaten, but this standard cannot always be met. Instances arise when our food service providers have leftover products. In such instances, they donate products to the Central Virginia Foodbank. In addition, produce and dairy that remains in the coolers at the end of a semester and have not reached their expiration dates are also donated to the Foodbank.
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)?:
A brief description of the food materials diversion program:
The University has an instituted system to recycle cooking oil. In 2018, the University recycled 1679 gallons; the recycled oil goes to a private company that processes it.
Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a pre-consumer composting program?:
A brief description of the pre-consumer composting program:
Pre-consumer liquid and solid food waste is processed using a pulper which grinds and then reduces the volume of waste. The end product is transported to the Department of Corrections Environmental Services Unit at Meadow Farm for composting. Total food product that went to that facility was 16,000 pounds in 2018.
Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a post-consumer composting program?:
A brief description of the post-consumer composting program:
Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor utilize reusable service ware for “dine in” meals?:
A brief description of the reusable service ware program:
Dining services has ceramic plates and metal serving ware for all in-house meals.
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)?:
A brief description of the compostable containers and service ware:
Heilman Dining Center has a reusable to-go container program in which students pay a one-time $5 fee for the reusable container at the cashier's station. Student can fill up the container (up to 28 ounces) with food and can take additional fruit/desserts as well.
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?:
A brief description of the reusable container discount or incentives program:
The University’s on campus Starbucks vendor, Eight Fifteen Cafe, offers a 20 cent discount to customers who bring in their own reusable drink containers. For many years, the University has sponsored a “lug-a-mug” program where, at the beginning of the year, mugs were distributed to students with meal plans. These mugs encourage reuse over single-use, disposable items.
Reusable mugs receive discounts in all retail locations; there is an environmental fee for to go containers at the Cellar.
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)?:
A brief description of other dining services materials management initiatives:
In the University’s purchasing policies for dining, the following guideline is included, “Encouraging suppliers to minimize packaging to eliminate excess waste while maintaining strength (consistent with care of the product). When possible, packaging should be made of recycled materials.” The University purchasing committee met with specific local vendors specifically with efforts to eliminate waste. This resulted in several businesses bringing their items to campus in large plastic totes which can be washed and returned for the next delivery, rather than single use plastic wrapping. In accordance with waste guidelines, on campus eateries have made several changes regarding the amount of waste produced. At Passport Cafe, all straws have been eliminated and replaced instead with “sippy cup” tops for all cups. In addition, the University sells reusable metal cups, straws, and bamboo silverware at two of the on campus food vendors.
The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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