Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 66.18
Liaison Phil Valko
Submission Date March 2, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Washington University in St. Louis
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Clara Steyer
Sustainability Coordinator
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

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

A brief description of the sustainable dining policy:

Washington University's primary dining services contractor, Bon Appetit Management Company, strives to provide "food service for a sustainable future". Bon Appetit has developed several programs that support sustainable food systems:

- Local sourcing: Farm to Fork program, Eat local Challenge, Fish to Fork, etc.
- Environmentally preferable sourcing: Adoption of the Seafood Watch standards, etc.
- Responsible animal welfare practices: RBGH Free, antibiotic free, cage-free eggs and other higher animal welfare certifications required on animal products purchase.
- Waste reduction: Low Carbon Diet program, Imperfectly Delicious Products, etc.
- Fair food: CIW Fair Food Agreement, Cordillera Fair Trade Certified baking chocolate, Fair Trade tea, etc.

For more detail into specific dining policies, please visit: www.bamco.com/sourcing/

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:

Bon Appetit staff source herbs, peppers and small quantities of tomatoes from a campus garden for a restaurant called Ibby's. Staff also purchase some vegetables from the Burning Kumquat, a student-run micro farm on the Danforth Campus.

Aramark, second in size dining provider, also has a grow room on campus where the chefs grow herbs and micro-greens year-long.

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 hosts a Community Supported Agriculture program open to faculty, staff, and students. Subscribers receive a weekly or bi-weekly crop box filled with seasonal and locally grown produce, eggs, and other artisan goods. In 2017, the program expanded with a third pick-up location that opened on the main. In addition to distributing the crop boxes, the CSA provider also sets up a mini market where non members can come and purchase fresh, seasonal and local goods.

The School of Medicine campus also hosts a Farmers Market every Thursday, year-long.

Several academic programs and courses also support urban agriculture projects in the community. Since 2015 and as part of the Sustainability Exchange, an interdisciplinary team of students has been working in partnership with the Missouri Coalition for the Environment to draft and pass an agriculture bill for the City of St. Louis.

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:

Complete-protein vegan and vegetarian meals and offerings are plentiful at all of our campus dining locations. At larger locations, students have the opportunity to create their own meals by choosing a protein (including vegan options), starch, and vegetables. As vegetarianism and veganism grow more popular among our student population, Bon Appetit has multiplied and diversified its plant-based options. The "beyond burger" and the "Vegan Moka Blast" are two recent vegan additions on the university's menus. The University has also increased communication and transparency with signage and labels for each vegan food items (including in the convenient store).

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:

Every Monday, campus dining locations managed by Bon Appetit and Catering St. Louis (another food contractor) feature vegetarian/vegan specials as part of the Green Monday campaign.
The university's Green Monday campaign helps consumers consider how their food choices affect public health and the environment. Green Monday participants pledge to eat vegetarian one additional day per week to reduce their 'foodprint'. For more information on the campaign, visit: https://sustainability.wustl.edu/get-involved/green-monday/

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:

Washington University hosts sustainability-themed meals throughout the year. Each meal has a different theme and objective, and these meals often change from year to year. The following are a few examples:

-Celebrated Diwali with authentic Indian food
-Applefest included local apples in apple-inspired dishes
-Eat Local Challenge: chefs prepared meals with 100% local ingredients (including spices, meats, cheeses, and vegetables)
-Tomato Challenge: chefs made creative tomato-based dishes when a local farm vendor had a surplus of 500 pounds of tomatoes

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:

The cafe offers a completely vegetarian menu. Additionally, Kaldi's purchases Relationship Coffees, which build on Fair Trade Certification and provide even greater transparency into the otherwise complex coffee transaction chain, from coffee grower to the consumer. Kaldi's seeks relationships with farmers whose agricultural practices preserve the soil and protect insects, birds, and wildlife. Its Relationship Coffees are also purchased for at least 15% above Fair Trade minimum price, ensuring that farmers make a living wage.

Ibby is a unique campus bistro that offers fresh, creative cuisine inspired by local ingredients and the seasons. With a focus on sustainable and locally-sourced ingredients, Ibby’s offers a delightful, fresh, daily-changing lunch buffet and a la carte menu as well as a full-service seasonal dinner menu.

The Whittemore House is a Faculty Conference Center with a about 1,400 members. Meeting room and dining rooms are available to members and their guests for breakfast, lunch and special events. The restaurant boasts many sustainability accomplishments and practices, including:
- Certified as a Green Dining Alliance 5 star member
- 36% of the food locally sourced (within 200 miles of campus)
- Weekly Green Monday (Meatless) Specials
- Composting & Recycling
- Ordering local meats, dairy, and local produce
- Avoiding excess water usage
- Menu planning using seasonal ingredients
- Using compostable to go cups, lids and straws
- Events are prepared according to guest counts to ensure we waste as little food as possible

The Farmstead Cafe opened in 2016 with the objective to provide local, fresh and healthy food to the WashU Medical School community. In 2017, the cafe has purchased 36% of its food from local vendors.

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:

Campus dining locations have signage informing consumers about the local farms providing ingredients for the meals being served. Additionally, table tent displays on dining hall tables rotate signage with information on sustainable dining options and initiatives like the Green Monday campaign.
On the menus or on the packages, all the food is labeled for a maximum of transparency. The labels indicate the presence of allergens such as: Dairy, Egg, Fish, Peanut/Nut, Shellfish, Soy and Wheat. Meals or pre-packs can also be labeled: Vegan, Vegetarian, Kosher, Halal Certified, Connie's Choice (nutritionist “better for you” choice), Bear Balance (contains the right balance of proteins, grains and vegetables).

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:

Staff members from Bon Appetit and the Office of Sustainability have been involved in a conversation with local partners to create a regional "Food Hub" that would include kitchen and storage space along with a processing facility. The food hub would ultimately facilitate connections between local farmers and big regional institutions such as WashU.

The Office of Sustainability also organizes an annual Harvest Festival featuring a farmers' market and activities around sustainable cooking and food waste reduction. In 2017, participants had the opportunity to learn how to pickle, to make apple cider, to mill acorn flour and to pickle local vegetables.

The Green Monday Campaign is a growing global movement to educate consumers about the public health and environmental impacts of their food choices and to increase access to lower impact choices. Every Monday, campus dining locations managed by Bon Appetit and Catering St. Louis promote vegetarian/vegan specials.

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:

Dining Services provides culturally diverse options throughout the year in larger dining locations. For example, a station called "WUrld Fusion" serves cultural meals every night. In addition, a regular kosher station serves kosher vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals year-round. Bon Appetit makes sure to consider religious/cultural traditions in their menu planning, offering options for: passover, lent, the Chinese new year, and more.

The Habif Health and Wellness Center also leads many programs aimed at students' physical and mental health. These programs include alcohol/other drugs, mental health, nutrition/fitness, sexual health, and sexual violence programs. To learn more visit: https://shs.wustl.edu/HealthAndWellness/Pages/Programs.aspx

The university's Wellness Connection initiative provides employees with health and wellness programs such as the WashU Moves activity challenge. Learn more here: https://wellnessconnection.wustl.edu/programs/move/

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:

All three of Washington Univeristy's food contractors (Bon Appetit, Aramark, and Catering St. Louis) track their waste daily and use this data to adjust their ordering and preparation processes.

According to Bon Appetit: "Food is prepared using historical data collected over the previous year and/or cycle of that menu. This information collected tells how much we prepared compared to how much was sold. This will assist us the next time we prepare this menu item to either reduce or increase production based on business needs."

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:

Trays are only available at larger a la carte cafes and have been eliminated at smaller dining locations. Trays for weekend brunch at the Bear’s Den dining location were removed to reduce food waste during all-you-care-to-eat service.

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:

Our primary food contractor, Bon Appetit, donates leftover and surplus food to Campus Kitchen (a student group that coordinates food donations for use in the preparation of meals delivered to community agencies) or to Operation Food Search (a local non-profit organization that fights hunger by distributing free food to 200,000 people in need each month).

Aramark also has a food donation program with Operation Food Search.

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 uses biofuel technology in support of this goal. From 2011 to 2016, the university partnered with a cooking oil recycling company started by a recent alum (Kelley Green Biofuel). He created a B20 mix of biodiesel-diesel in colder months and B50 in warmer months to fuel three Dining Services delivery trucks. In this business model, the company retrieves waste oil from campus dining locations and filters it locally. The refined fryer oil then goes to Louisville, KY, where it is processed into biodiesel at Kelley's custom-designed plant. The finished biodiesel mix is driven back to St. Louis and pumped from a 500-gallon double-wall storage tank with an electric pump at the university's North Campus.

When oil prices dropped at the end of 2016, the company could no longer run this program through St. Louis in a cost effective manner, so the collection was transitioned to a standard oil recycler and the trucks went back to running on standard diesel. During this time, the Office of Sustainability and Dining Services created a partnership with a local high school that had a small-scale oil recycling program run by the chemistry teacher. A grant was received to expand their operations to run a similar full-circle program. Contract negotiations, infrastructure upgrades, insurance and other logistics have taken more time than expected for the program to become operational. The launch date is expected to be May 2018. Additional equipment has been installed so that the trucks can run on B50 year round, without risk of the fuel clogging.

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 food waste and kitchen scraps are collected on-site at the main dining locations and commissaries. Infrastructure, like an industry-scale pulper and piping, efficiently collects the food waste for transportation. Collected compost is picked up by St. Louis Composting to be composted off-site. The end product is brought back to campus to be used in the university's landscaping operations.

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

A brief description of the post-consumer composting program:

There is a post-consumer compost collection at the largest dining facilities, including the Bear’s Den and Village. Other locations include the Law School Cafe, Hillman Hall, and Whittemore House. Significant signage assists with sorting, though a variety of self-sort models are used at the different locations. Like the pre-consumer waste, post-consumer food waste is collected by St. Louis Composting to be composted off-site and returned to the campus to be used in our landscaping operations.

To facilitate accurate self-sorting, a wide variety of education and outreach models are employed throughout the year, including an extensive outreach and training program aimed at first year students in their first 40 days on campus.

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:

Reusable service ware is available in all large dining halls.

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:

BPA-free reusable to-go containers, called Eco To-Go, are offered at major dining locations. Students and employees can return the containers to any campus dining location, and Dining Services staff will wash them.

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:

All dining facilities serving coffee on campus are offering the Bottomless Mug program. For $99, students and staff receive a reusable mug (two options available) and have unlimitted acess to coffee for the entire school year. This program is a great incentive to prevent hundreds of disposable coffee cups from going to the landfill. More information here: https://sustainability.wustl.edu/the-bottomless-coffee-mug-program-saves-cups/

Bon Appetit also provides a discount for customers bringing their own reusable mug on hot and cold beverages at all dining locations. Aramark also offers discounts to customers bring their own containers.

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:

The institution has banned all bottled water. WashU’s ban eliminates 386,000 bottles and saves 15,000 gallons of oil each year.

Bon Appetit has been committed to buying "Imperfectly Delicious Products", a cutting-edge program to rescue flavorful but cosmetically imperfect produce from going to waste on farms and during distribution. During the year 2017, Bon Appetit at WashU bought nearly 8,000 pounds of "ugly food" from local vendors.

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

Washington University contracts out its dining services to more than one vendor. Bon Appetit is the largest vendor (representing about 88% of food purchases on campus) and hence has the greatest impact.

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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.