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Dining Expands Sustainability

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Booklet: Vegan and Vegetarian food available on campus.

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Related Information:

Dining Keeps Trans Fat Off Tables .... more

GT Dining Saves water and wins award......more (p3 of 4)

Culinary Showdown presents Tech's Best.... more

Hurricane Katrina .......more

GT Dining Services Sustainability 2009 .......more

GT Dining Promotes Conservation .......more

Georgia Organics Directory .......more



phone: 404.894.9289
Stewardship@Georgia Tech


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Fall/Spring 2009 Initiatives

  • Recycle Mug Program

  • Composting all food waste from dining halls! GT Dining will be working with GreenCo, a composting company to reduce waste in the dining halls. All food wastes will be composted instead of put into a land fill.

  • GT Dining has made it a goal and a top priority to reduce our carbon footprint by 26%.

Recycling Pizza Boxes in Pandini's

Pandini's customers need look no further than the top of the trash bins to recycle their cardboard boxes. The idea with the specialized space on top of the trash bins is that students will realize that their cardboard can be recycled immediately and that it doesn’t always have to be thrown away.

Pandini's estimates it is recycling 250 pizza boxes a week.

"One trick is to remove the pizza from them as soon as possible, so the box does not absorb moisure or oil. Carboard must be clean to be recycled,” said Dori Martin, marketing manager, GT Dining.

Biodegradable Containers

Many GT Dining customers are “carry-out” customers and need containers to carry their food. This year GT Dining changed its soup cups, lids and Freshens cups to biodegradable items. If these items end up in landfills, they will naturally and easily decompose in the earth.

GT Dining is already going a step further into the biodegradable realm. GT Dining has removed all styrofoam cups from GT Dining locations.

"GT Dining managers are always trying to find the most sustainable ways to maintain our facilities. We all have taken Sustainability 101 & 201 through Sodexo and are dedicated to keeping up with new information on the topic,” said Dori Martin, marketing manager, GT Dining.

freshens compostable cups compostable soup containers

All of the containers for Freshens are Eco-Containers. In a compost pile, they will totally decompose in 10 weeks.

GT Dining Increases Education and Awareness

Sustainability news and information areas have been setup in dining halls and in the Food Court. Sustainability Trivia takes place in each of the dining halls once a month to raise sustainability awareness among the students

Sustainable Dining education and displays

dining servies marketing at EarthDay 2009

Junior's Grill replaces styrofoam cups

Junior's Grill, long a tradition on Georgia Tech's campus, has moved away from styrofoam cups as a green initiative. more.....

GT Dining Recycled Napkins Save Trees

GT Dining uses napkins made of recycled paper products. Energy is saved because less power is used to recycle paper products than to create them from virgin material. In addition, new napkin dispensers result in 25-50% fewer paper napkins being used since they dispense a single napkin at a time. Each ton of 100% post consumer recycled paper that displaces virgin fiber paper saves 7,000 gallons of water, 4,100 kiowatt hous of electricity and prevents 60 pounds of pollutants from entering the atmosphere.

dining using recycled napkins saving energy

GT Dining prevents paper waste by putting napkins in dispensers vs in open baskets, which saves an average of 70.61 trees per year. All napkins used in GT Dining locations are made from recycled material.

Student Center Expands Beverage Container Recycling

Georgia Tech's Student Center has expanded its recycling of beverage containers. To increase the visibility of beverage container reycling, the Student Center has placed more recycling containers in more locations on campus. Kim Harringon, Associate Director of Operations at the Student Center, wanted to make it easier for students and visitors to the Student Center to recycle their beverage containers. To do this, she brought in more recycling containers and placed them in more locations.

beverage container recycling expands at Student Center


Trayless Dining Halls

On Monday, November 12, 2007, Dining Halls at Georgia Tech went trayless in an effort to save water. Estimates are that 3,000 trays per day were washed prior to the changes. This is saving 15,000 gallons of water a week. Georgia Tech thanks everyone for this water conservation effort. See Auxiliary Service's article about this. See the student newspaper's article about this.


Student Involvement

GT Dining has started an internal sustainability committee that is responsible for developing sustainability initiatives within dining services, and overseeing the implementation of those initiatives.  Initially, the team wants to promote to the Georgia Tech campus and beyond the current programs that are in place that seek to make us sustainable.  Going forward we want to develop relationships with campus students and student organizations to ensure that our efforts are inclusive with the campus and supported by the students, faculty and staff.  We are currently working with Students Organizing for Sustainability, Georgia Tech Sustainable Food Projects (who sponsor the Campus Supported Agriculture program), the Student Center, and Georgia Tech's Office of Environmental Stewardship.

Sustainable Dining Committee on EarthDay 2009

Biofuel from Used Oil

GT Dining collects used cooking oil from all our kitchens, including both dining halls, and WOW, filters, the used oil, making it cleaner and purer, and then transports it off campus to be converted to fiodiesel fuel. Other eating establishments on campus also contribute thier used cooking oil to the program. The biofuel is then used on campus as a B10 or B20 mix.

one of many can donation programs

Voluntary Composting

Grounds for Growth, a program implemented at Seattle's Best Coffee, reduces water waste by giving away used coffee grounds for mulching in gardens.

Administration Offices across campus can implement voluntary composting, giving their used coffee grounds to farmers in their buildings. Two floors in the Budget Departments accumulated approximately 2 quarts of grounds each week. The worms thrive on these grounds and enrich the garden soil.

Percent of organic, locally produced and or fair trade foods on campus

Georgia Tech has been serving local foods for over 100 years. Since 2004, 40% of Georgia Tech Dining Services produce has been locally produced. Organic food options currently comprise over 5% of the food offered on campus. We make a significant commitment to local and sustainably grown food in Georgia in order to provide needed support for Georgia farmers and local economies.

Georgia Tech has signed the Atlanta Local Food Initiative (ALFI) to encourage local, organic food initiatives in Atlanta. Georgia Tech has a policy of purchasing local and organic whenever cost neutral options for doing so are known and available to us in a reasonable manner. What this means is that we are now purchasing more local and organic foods than anyone else from one of the largest local and organic distributors in Georgia. Georgia Tech has a policy of offering nutritious food on campus and to work with students to identify which food they want to have offered.

Organic food is available in both EastSide and WestSide Markets. Organic food is moving into the dining halls and other food retail locations, on a case by case basis, and is now available at all meals and most venues. For example, we recently purchased a very large quantity of organic Vidalia onions. They were included in food offered in the dining halls. When dishes are all organic, we will label them as such. Otherwise, we are increasingly including organic food into campus but it may not always be "front page news".

Organic Products


Community Supported Agriculture

Campus Supported Agriculture has come to Georgia Tech. Organic, locally grown produce is delivered each Wednesday to campus. Orders are placed via the internet.


CSA malgeneCSA community supported agriculture pick up

Fair Trade

Fair trade coffee is available on campus at Georgia Tech at five of our Retail Dining locations.  Fair Trade raises incomes and living standards for small coffee farmers overseas while helping to protect the environment. Fair Trade doesn't provide aid or charity, but instead promotes self-reliance and equality for farmers who are disadvantaged under present trading conditions.

Fair Trade practices include:

    • Paying farming families a fair price for their harvests that provides them a decent, living wage.

    • Helping small farmers gain access to needed loans for working capital.

    • Establishing direct, long-term trading relationships between buyers and farmers.

Vegan and Vegetarian