|Submission Date||March 2, 2020|
University of Texas at Austin
OP-8: Sustainable Dining
|2.00 / 2.00||
Division of Housing and Food Service
Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host a farmers market, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery program, 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:
UT Farm Stand - biweekly, student-run produce market on campus. Foods are sourced from local farms or campus gardens and sold at discounted prices. Farm to Work - weekly CSA for the UT campus community. There are 4 dropoff locations around main campus.
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 support disadvantaged businesses, social enterprises, and/or local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through its food and beverage purchasing?:
A brief description of the support for disadvantaged businesses, social enterprises, and/or local SMEs:
Estimated percentage of total food and beverage expenditures on products from disadvantaged businesses, social enterprises, and/or local SMEs:
Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host low impact dining events or promote plant-forward options?:
A brief description of the low impact dining events and/or plant-forward options:
Univeristy Housing and Dining hosts regular dining programs to promote sustainable foods and celebrate local farmers. Plant-based options have increased and improved with the support of a monthly vegan/vegetarian focus group. PETA recently awarded an A+ to UT Austin for it's commitment to plant-based dining.
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:
Plant based options are available on every serving line, including dessert. There is a complete plant-based meal offered every day at all locations.
Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor inform customers about low impact food choices and sustainability practices through labelling and signage in dining halls?:
A brief description of the sustainability labelling and signage in dining halls:
Food waste educational materials are displayed throughout the dining halls. These materials encourage patrons to serve themselves with only what they think they can eat and explains the environmental impact of such waste.
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:
UHD particpates in the EPA's Food Recovery Challenge. Food recovery begins with the use of FoodPro, a food tracking software that allows for less waste in purchasing through meal forecasting.
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:
UHD has removed trays from the buffets since 2008. This has led to an estimated 50% reduction in edible food waste.
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:
Food that is prepared but not served, as well as expired retail food items, are donated to a local soup kitchen (Angel House Soup Kitchen). Occasionally, fresh produce grown in the gardens or are leftovers from the farmers market are donated to the campus food bank (UT Outpost).
Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor divert food materials from the landfill, incinerator or sewer for animal feed or industrial uses?:
A brief description of the food materials diversion program:
60,000 lbs of cooking oil is recovered from all of the dining locations and converted into a biodesie
Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a pre-consumer composting program?:
A brief description of the pre-consumer composting program:
Kitchen scraps and expired foods are all composted through a commercial composting system.
Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a post-consumer composting program?:
A brief description of the post-consumer composting program:
Post-consumer composting has been a big challenge due to contamination. Post-consumer in the retail locations was largely put on hold throughout 2019. In the buffets, post-consumer waste continues to be composted.
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:
The buffets use entirely reusable serviceware. In the retail locations, metal forks, spoons, and knives are exclusively offered. These are collected at the waste stations, washed, and restocked.
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:
Eco2Go is a reusable container program that is available in all locations. Membership in the program is purchased for $5 and is valid indefinitely. Since 2010, there have been over 2 million transactions of Eco2Go. Additionally, the vast majority of "grab and go" items prepared in-house and sold in the retail locations are packaged in a certified compostable container.
Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor offer discounts or other incentives to customers who use reusable containers instead of disposable or compostable containers in “to-go” food service operations?:
A brief description of the reusable container discount or incentives program:
Patrons using the Eco2Go containers receive a 5% discount on their meal. This results in about a $30,000/year in savings for eco-consience patrons. Additionally, fountain drinks are discounted by 25 cents if the patron brings their own drink vessel.
A brief description of other sustainability-related initiatives not covered above:
UT Housing and Food Service has two full time dieticians that implement food safety, nutrition, and education into all food service units. Cultural-themed events are also a regular part of the programing in food service.
Website URL where information about the sustainable dining programs 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.