Support. Sustain. Share.
In 2012, BYU Dining Services adopted the following, “it is no small thing to be made stewards of the Lord’s house and caretakers of his creations. BYU Dining Services strives to fill this responsibility through the purchase and use of product that are safe for consumption, support local sustainability efforts and demonstrate a commitment to stewardship.”
Dining Services is committed to protecting our environment by installing food waste condensing equipment, which limits food waste from entering the wastewater stream and being an advocate for recycling on the college campus. Dining Services has a commitment to decrease the use of limited resources and limiting overproduction of food and spoilage.
BYU Dining continues to lead in the area of locally sourced foods among Utah higher education institutions. An audit performed by BYU Purchasing found that 25.6% of all food purchased was sourced locally – defined as a 250 mile radius.
Dining Services also continues its commitment in diverting waste from landfills. Food waste pulpers are used to process a variety of solid waste, primarily portions of Dining Service’s waste stream. Pulpers grind up portions of organic matter, such as food scraps, cardboard, and paper with water. The pulper then extracts most of the moisture to produce a dry, organic pulp. Dining Services' pulper's capacity ranges from 250 lbs/hr at the Heritage Central Building to 2,000 lbs/hr at the Culinary Support Center. The pulpers used on campus reduce the volume of organic waste by 80%.
Pulpers have three main environmental benefits for BYU. First, it keeps organic materials out of the landfills. By reducing the number of refuse pickups, the costs and carbon footprint associated with the transportation and disposal of waste is further reduced. Additionally, the pulpers use approximately two gallons of water per minute, which is much more efficient than the eight gallons of water per minute used by traditional disposal systems. Finally, the pulpers contribute organic material that is used in the composting process for creating top soil for BYU Grounds.
In 2019, the Missionary Training Center purchased a new pulping system, which uses the latest technology. This pulper is 25% more energy efficient, and uses five percent less water than previous models.
Dining Services has sponsored and held the largest Farmer’s Market in BYU Dining History. In 2019, the market saw an all-time high of 36 vendors and an approximate attendance of 1500 people during the final Farmer’s Market of the season. Feedback for the Farmer’s Markets included comments such as, “I love the fresh, local produce, live music, and food tastings at the chef’s tent.” The chefs on campus purchased food from these markets to serve in their areas on campus.
In 2019, BYU Dining Services eliminated single-use waxed paper cups at LaVell Edwards Stadium and instead provided a refillable, reusable option. This change has resulted in preventing 28,000 single-use waxed paper cups from entering the waste stream. Customer feedback has been very positive, especially because of the refillable option.
The department also introduced a compostable straw with a reusable glass bottle at Milk and Cookies. This serving choice has eliminated roughly 700 single-use plastic cups and approximately 700 straws from entering the waste stream.
Choices also featured fully compostable to-go containers. This serving choice has prevented approximately 15,000 single-use non-compostable bowls and around 5,000 single-use non-compostable lids from entering the waste stream.
Dining Services eliminated trays during the summer and studied its impact on waste reduction and portion sizes at the Cannon Commons. Findings from the study can be found in the table below.
2019 also saw a remodeling of the Cougareat Food Court, which impacted sustainability in the following ways:
- Dining Services purchased the replaced aging equipment with the Hobart FT1000S Energy Recovery Electric Flight-Type dishwashing machine and a PW20 pot & pan washer. Both are Energy Star-rated appliances that are certified by the U.S. Green Building Council. The pot & pan washer is vent-less, meaning that a hood system was not required resulting in further power savings.
- The department also purchased air-cooled ice machines, thus further reducing water usage. Air-cooled ice machines use 90% less water than water-cooled machines. Air-cooled machines use 100 gallons to produce 100 pounds of ice.
The department collected and recycled plastic bags found inside cereal boxes as part of a Malt-O-Meal program that partnered with charities which helped to provide fresh drinking water to those in need. This employee-led initiative collected 14,231 bags, which provided one week of drinking water for 4,663 people.
Dining Services reinstituted the Single Kernel Award, founded on the following quote by Brigham Young, “If a man is worth millions of bushels of wheat and corn, he is not wealthy enough to … sweep a single kernel of it into the fire; let it be eaten by something and pass again into the earth, and thus fulfill the purpose for which it grew. Remember it, do not waste anything, but take care of everything.” This was marketed to all employees and awarded during a May 2020 retreat.
The department created a “Fuel Station” (similar to a food pantry program) in the WSC for Dining Services student employees. Although already minimal waste, about 125 students were served weekly through this program.
Created the BYU Sustainability Dining Committee
- John Beard – Assistant Professor, Public Health
- Brent Craig – Director, Dining Services
- Carr Krueger – Assistant Administrative Vice President, Auxiliaries and Programs
- Bremen Leak – Associate Director, Sustainability and Continuity
- David Moody – Chef de Cuisine, Food To-Go
- Roland Nelson – Manager, Strategic Sourcing Operations
- Job Rodriguez – General Manager, Culinary Support Center
- Bill Rudy – Recycling and Solid Waste Supervisor
- Nathan Stokes – Assistant Professor, Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Science
Work Done to Date
- Researched and implemented the effectiveness and impact of going trayless in the Cannon Commons cafeteria.
- Researched the impact and possibilities of replacing Styrofoam to-go containers, cups, lids, and straws.
- Researched the possibility of increasing the volume of locally sourced foods purchased by BYU.
- Heard a student presentation on food insecurity and campus pantry programs.