Waste Week at The University of Pittsburgh

For Your Planet

As a guest, it is easy to make smart environmental choices when you dine at a Sodexo café. We know today's college students want to do the right thing for the planet and we also understand you lead busy lives, so your Sodexo chefs and managers do a lot of the work for you behind the scenes!


14 Commitments


From purchasing local seasonal produce whenever possible to reducing inorganic and organic waste, your campus team is dedicated to providing you with an exceptional dining experience that is good for you and good for the planet.

This commitment was formalized with Sodexo's Better Tomorrow Plan. The Better Tomorrow Plan includes 14 commitments for a brighter future by focusing on three key priorities: health, community and planet. Learn more about the Better Tomorrow Commitments.

While your Sodexo team works hard behind the scenes, they also count on student engagement and enthusiasm to spread the word about what you're doing together on your campus. We encourage you to work with your local Sodexo management team to continue to innovate and improve sustainability efforts in your community.

If you have additional comments or questions, please contact us. We would love to hear from you.

Dining Services Sustainability Initiatives 2012-2013  

Compost System

Dining Services began composting pre-consumer and post-consumer waste this past summer in its Market Central facility. With the installation of a commercial-grade pulper, extractor, and food digester, Market Central’s food waste has been decreased from over 900-750 pounds a day to roughly 150 gallons of non-organic waste and nearly 200 pounds of organic compostable material daily.  The system has reduced food waste by nearly 75% in the dining hall. This system diverts hundreds of pounds of food waste from ending up in a landfill, and instead produces a rich soil amendment that can be used to grow more fruits and vegetables.

Trayless Dining


Dining Services removed all trays from both of its largest all-you-care-to-eat facilities in the beginning of the 2009-2010 school year. Eliminating the trays has been highly effective in reducing food waste by preventing students from loading up their trays with large amounts of food that typically end up in the trash. Thousands of gallons of water as well as a large quantity of dish detergent have also been saved because of the decreased number of dishes and the lack of trays to wash.

Fossil Free Fuel


Dining Services gives all of its waste cooking oil from Market Central, The Perch, Cathedral Cafe, and Schenley Café to Fossil Free Fuel through the Refuel Pittsburgh initiative. Fossil Free Fuel converts waste fryer grease into automotive fuel for use in diesel engine vehicles and machinery. Replacing diesel fuel with vegetable oil improves local air quality, water quality and keeps fuel dollars in the regional economy. To learn more about this process visit: http://fossilfreefuel.com.

Pepsi Dream Machine

Towers lobby just installed a Dream Machine recycling receptacle to encourage students and staff to recycle more aluminum cans and plastic bottles!  Recycle your waste to earn points that you can redeem for local discounts and coupons for entertainment, dining and travel at greenopolis.com.  Only one-third of the plastic beverage containers in the United States are recycled - that means that two-thirds often wind up as litter, on our roads and in our oceans and waterways.  But, if every household in the U.S. recycled just three more plastic bottles a month, we could divert more than 23 million pounds of plastic from our landfills and increase the amount of recycled plastic available to incorporate into new bottles.  This would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save energy, reduce air and water pollution and conserve our planet's natural resources.


Refill Program

Students are encouraged to be more eco-conscious by receiving discounts at coffee carts for bringing in their reusable mugs or bottles to be refilled. Dining Services offers a $.25 discount on hot beverage purchases with a reusable mug and a $.99 refill on cold fountain beverages. Such incentives show students that sustainability is better for the environment as well as their wallets, and prevents countless disposable cups from being discarded.


Most Styrofoam packaging has been phased out of Dining Services facilities and replaced with biodegradable and compostable packaging products. Styrofoam is manufactured through an energy-intensive fossil-fuel based process and will virtually never decompose. By reducing Styrofoam from its facilities, Dining Services has prevented thousands of pounds of non-organic waste from ending up in landfills.  Packaging made with plant fibers, biopolymers, recycled material, and potato starch are now being used in dining facilities.

Energy Star Appliances and Track Lighting System

Dining Services utilizes a variety of energy star appliances including walk-in coolers, hoods, dishwashers, and air screen coolers. These appliances have been certified as using less energy than conventional ones. 

For more information on Energy Star Appliance, go to www.energystar.gov

Market Central, the largest dining facility on-campus, recently switched to a Lutron lighting system. The new lighting system allows individual zones to be powered down once a specific platform in Market is closed. The new system conserves energy by only providing lighting to areas that need it.

Sustainable Cleaning

Eco Lab Apex Warewashing Systems are used in all Dining Services facilities to wash flatware, utensils, and cookware. Using these appliances reduces our chemical waste by 30%.

Local Produce

The main produce distributor for Dining Services is Paragon Monteverde, a company dedicated to supplying local and organically grown fruits and vegetables.  Paragon distributes food from several local farms including Dawson’s Orchard, Wexford Farms, and Brenkles Farm.

Meet the Farmer

Dining Services strives to educate students about the source of their food by hosting local farmers in Market Central for the monthly “Meet the Farmer” event. Each month, a different local farmer is invited to come to Market Central and talk to students one-on-one about the agricultural practices they use to grow their food.

Blue, Gold, Green Fair

Sodexo Dining Services was a proud sponsor of the spring 2010 Blue, Gold, and Green Fair organized by the University’s Purchasing Department. Food vendors at the fair included Paragon, Schneider’s Dairy, Starbucks, NuGo, and Naked Juice.



Sodexo. Committed to a better Tomorrow

"We have a responsibility to use our resources wisely and to protect them for future generations."
Arlin Wasserman, Sodexo VP of Corporate Citizenship