Notre Dame Food Services strives to prepare healthy meals using locally grown and sustainably produced sources where possible, and to use food preparation and distribution practices that minimize energy use and waste generation. Campus food sustainability initiatives fall into the following categories:
How food is prepared
- Food Services recycles almost all the packaging in which food arrives. Waste oil from fryers is recycled as well.
- When available, all new equipment purchased for the kitchens is Energy Star certified. Food Services also makes efforts to either order full truckloads of food or to share the truck with a local purchaser in order to save fuel.
How food is served
- Dining hall trays: South Dining Hall has switched to smaller trays in order to reduce food waste. The dining halls also encourage students to consider not using a tray when possible.
- Waste-Free Wednesdays, Waste and Weigh surveys, and an educational “wasted food” poster campaign in the dining halls encourage diners to take only what they plan to eat
- Reusable dishware: The dining halls only use reusable dishware, so there’s no container waste. Dishware washing procedures are designed to minimize water and energy usage.
- Incentives: Discounts at campus cafes encourage customers to bring their own mug.
- Eco-friendly to-go containers: To-go stations use corn-based cups for yogurt and cold drinks.
Where food comes from
- Campus dining halls serve seafood that has been certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council.
- About 45% of the food on campus is locally sourced, meaning Food served on campus it was grown and processed in Indiana or one of its neighboring states or Wisconsin.
- Many organic and fair trade ingredients, including coffee and flour, are used at campus dining halls.
- Many vegetarian and vegan options are available.
Where food waste goes
- Food scraps from the main Food Service facility are used for cattle feed, totaling about 37,000 pounds per year.
- Leftover cooked food is donated to two local homeless shelters.
- Edible food waste is processed through garbage disposals and the University’s waste water conveyance system to the municipal wastewater treatment plant where solid waste is removed and used in agricultural applications.
- An international oil reclamation company picks up waste grease and cooking oils from ND dining halls for reprocessing into usable products.
- The Office of Sustainability conducts staff training focusing on recycling and energy conservation at the Food Service Support Facility.
- The Food Service Support Facility and each dining hall have sustainability leads whose role is to inform their colleagues about environmental initiatives and encourage participation.
- The Food Services Social Responsibility Committee works to improve sustainability in all aspects of Food Services.
Food Services is comprised of two campus dining halls which serve over 11,000 meals per day, as well as a convenience store, eight express units, the Huddle food court, three casual restaurants, a large catering department, campus vending, and athletic concessions. Food Services is the largest campus department; employing 64 full time managerial staff, 253 full time cooks, chefs, kitchen associates, and service associates, 1,023 part time staff, and 733 students.