Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 66.39
Liaison Phil Valko
Submission Date March 4, 2022

STARS v2.2

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

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Aamna Anwer
Sustainability Coordinator
Office of Sustainabilty
"---" 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?:

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

The university partners with a local producer to provide a Community Supported Agriculture program, available to anyone in the WashU community. Subscribers receive a weekly or bi-weekly crop box filled with seasonal and locally grown produce, eggs, and other artisan goods. Student discounts are available.

WashU hosts a weekly farmers market on its Medical Campus. Pre-pandemic, this farmers market was held year-round. It ran from August of 2021 to November of 2021. It will be offered year-round again starting April 2022.

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 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:

This 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's 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. Ibby's also received a 5-stars certification from the Green Dining Alliance (more here: https://greendiningalliance.org/location/ibbys/)

The Whittemore House is a Faculty Conference Center with 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
- 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.

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:

Bon Appetit's Farm to Fork program is a companywide commitment to purchasing from small (less than $5million annual sales) owner-operated farms and ranches within 150 miles of their kitchens.

Farm to Fork criteria: https://www.bamco.com/sourcing/farm-to-fork-criteria/

WashU Dining also invites locally-owned food trucks to campus on a weekly basis.

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:

The Green Monday campaign was launched in 2015 at WashU. Since then, some campus eateries have been featuring plant-forward specials on Mondays.

Green Monday helps consumers consider how their food choices affect public health and the environment. 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/

The Office of Sustainability and WashU Dining Services partnered on October’s “Ever Green Challenge,” a new plant-based dining challenge on campus. Link: https://sustainability.wustl.edu/get-involved/food-dining/ever-green-challenge/

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. Each dining outlet offers either a vegan or vegetarian option for every meal.

At the DUC (Danforth University Center), the most central and major dining location on campus, the DeliciOSO station only offers vegetarian and vegan options at lunch. At other locations and most stations, 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 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 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:

Campus dining locations have signage informing consumers about the local farms providing ingredients for the meals being served.

On the menus or on the pre-packs, all the food is labeled for maximum transparency. The labels indicate the presence of allergens such as: Dairy, Egg, Fish, Peanut/Nut, Shellfish, Soy and Wheat. When applicable, meals or pre-packs are labeled: Vegan, Vegetarian, Kosher, Halal Certified, Bear Balance (contains the right balance of proteins, grains and vegetables).

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 on the Danforth campus (Bon Appetit, Flik, 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 cycle of that menu [cycles are 3-weeks long]. The daily waste logs inform us on how much we prepared compared to how much was sold. We assess data each time we prepare a menu item to either reduce or increase production based on business needs."

Flik, the foodservice provider that operates in the Olin Business School, utilizes the “Waste Not” tracking system to continuously analyze menu options to minimize food waste.

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. Trays have not been in use at all during pandemic operations.

Dining hasn't bought a tray in several years and is planning to phase them out as the stock goes down.

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:

Historically, our primary food contractor, Bon Appetit, donates leftover from big events and surplus food to Campus Kitchen (a student group that collects food donations for use in the preparation of meals delivered to local pantries or soup kitchens) 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).

In 2019, Campus Kitchen and Food Recovery Network merged but the food donation program with Dining has sustained.

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:

WashU Dining collects cooking oils and contracts with a vendor that pick up and repurpose all cooking oils for various industrial purposes.

The Office of Sustainability and Dining Services have been in partnership to with an area high school to develop a closed-loop biodiesel recycling program. The three partners managed to jump through nearly all the hoops and hurdles to establish a program where the high school class would pick up spent cooking oil from the university, clean and convert the oil into B80 fuel, then use the final product in their own bus and maintenance vehicle fleet, and also sell back fuel to the university to power three dining services delivery trucks. Currently, only a small amount of spent cooking oil is being processed into biodiesel due to capacity constraints of the program.

Most of the cooking oil is being picked up and recycled by Grease Masters.

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 post-consumer compost collection at the largest dining facilities, including the Bear’s Den, the Village, and the Danforth University Center (DUC). Other locations include the Law School Cafe, Hillman Hall, Parkside Cafe, 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:

During normal operations, meals are served on plates with silverware; during the recent alternate pandemic operations, meals are served “to-go” in compostable packaging, when available (due to supply chain constraints).

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 Eco2Go, 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.

When Eco2Go is not available or not requested by the consumer, third party certified compostable containers are available.

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:

Pre-pandemic, dining facilities serving coffee on campus offered the Bottomless Mug program. For $99, students and staff receive a reusable mug and have unlimited access 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 provided a discount for customers bringing their own reusable mug on hot and cold beverages at all dining locations.

In 2018/2019, hundreds of metal straws were distributed to students to prevent the use of single-use straws. This initiative was led by the student group "Student Sustainability Board". More recently, Congress of the South 40 distributed metal straws to incoming first-years.

The Office of Sustainability has also been distributing and raffling out hundreds of bamboo cutlery sets to prevent the use of single-use utensils. Students must submit a survey/pledge in order to receive a free set.

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

>> 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.

>>Every year during Black History Month, Dining is celebrating the African-American regional cuisines that defined our American palate. Food specials, educational information, and cooking demos are taking place all month long across campus.

>> The WashU Bear Balance movement is designed to improve the nutrition quality and availability of food for students, faculty, and staff around campus. Menu items across campus now labeled with the updated Bear Balance icon meet the following nutrition specific criteria: 100% whole grains; 0 trans fat (hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils); less than a teaspoon of added sugar; less than 5 grams of animal-based saturated fat; Benchmarks for both sodium and overall calories. More: https://diningservices.wustl.edu/bear-balance-movement/

>>The Office of Sustainability published a Sustainable Food Guide to help the WashU community make sustainable food choices. More: https://sustainability.wustl.edu/get-involved/food-dining/sustainable-food-guide/

Website URL where information about the sustainable dining programs 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 nearly 90% 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.