Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 53.92
Liaison Mat Thijssen
Submission Date Oct. 26, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of Waterloo
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.88 / 2.00 Mat Thijssen
Sustainability Manager
Sustainability Office
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

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?:
Yes

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

Food Services coordinates the longstanding UW Farm Market during Spring and Fall terms to bring fresh, local produce to the campus community. It is hosted weekly or bi-weekly in the Student Life Centre or other available space.


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:

FRSH is a new outlet location that focuses on healthy and low-meat options across its full menu, including custom made rice or quinoa bowls, hot burritos and sandwiches, salads, wraps, smoothies, and fresh-squeezed juices. As of September 2018, it has been converted into a fully vegan-vegetarian 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?:
Yes

A brief description of the support for disadvantaged businesses, social enterprises, and/or local SMEs:

Approximately 25-30% of all food purchases from non-franchise locations are sourced through local farmers and from the local Elmira Produce Cooperative for farmers within Waterloo Region


Estimated percentage of total food and beverage expenditures on products from disadvantaged businesses, social enterprises, and/or local SMEs:
30

Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host low impact dining events or promote plant-forward options?:
Yes

A brief description of the low impact dining events and/or plant-forward options:

Over the past 3 years Food Services and the Sustainability Office have hosted over 18 different workshops, events, cooking shows, and webinars on healthy and sustainable food choices


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?:
No

A brief description of the vegan dining program:
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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?:
Yes

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

Food Services has begun highlighting local products on the menu, and displays information about Fair Trade certified products wherever they are sold, including the social and environmental benefits of fair trade.


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?:
No

A brief description of the food recovery competition or commitment program or food waste prevention system:
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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?:
No

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

This has been completed on an ad-hoc basis, including donations for food during COVID-19


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor divert food materials from the landfill, incinerator or sewer for animal feed or industrial uses?:
Yes

A brief description of the food materials diversion program:

Grease and oil from kitchens are collected and provided to a third party farm for beneficial use


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:

Waterloo has had a longstanding pilot with the Region of Waterloo to collect back-of-house food prep waste and spoilage through the local green bin program. In 2018, this was converted into a private organics collection contract with a certified waste hauler.


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:

Yes, launched in September 2018 at core food services cafeteria areas.


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:

In some locations, reusable plates, cups, and cutlery are available.


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:

Waterloo has phased out plastic clamshell containers and has launched a reusable “eco-container” program in residence dining halls. Students pay a deposit for the container, which can be exchanged for a clean one and students receive a discount on their meal when using one of the containers. This program will be expanded going forward and resumed once public health regulations allow post-COVID.


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?:
Yes

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

As noted above, the Eco-Container program is being used to promote reusable takeout containers. In addition, Food Services offers a discount at all locations (including franchises) for customers who bring a reusable cup or mug for coffee and tea.


A brief description of other sustainability-related initiatives not covered above:

Food Services has transitioned away from using plastic straws in non-franchise operations, in favour of paper straws. These minimize plastic waste and shift to a compostable option. The straws are available on request from the cashier rather than being provided up-front, so it is easier for patrons to elect not to use a straw. Food Services has also implemented a pay-by-weight program in residences, as opposed to a flat fee, so that students have a financial incentive to reduce food waste and only put as much on their plates as they can eat.


Website URL where information about the sustainable dining programs is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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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.