The Food & Recycling category examines dining services' policies for responsible food procurement, as well as schools' waste management practices. Credit is awarded to initiatives including:
- The quantity and availability of organic and sustainably produced and locally grown food, taking into account geographic region
Offering financial incentives for using reusable dishware
Eliminating trays to reduce food waste and save energy and water
Composting organic waste
Strong recycling programs and source reduction initiatives that advocate reuse or donation of materials instead of sending them to the landfill
- Almost all schools buy at least some food from local sources. An impressive 98 percent of the schools devote at least a small portion of their food budgets to buying from local farms and/or producers.
- Seven in ten schools have a community garden or farm on campus. Campus community gardens and farms, from which dining halls can source food, are maintained by 70 percent of the schools.
- More than nine in ten schools offer fair trade coffee and other food items. Fair trade coffee and other fair trade food items, which are sustainably grown and allow workers to receive a fair wage, are available at 94 percent of the schools.
- Over six in ten schools compost food waste. Pre- and postconsumer food waste composting programs exist at 62 percent of the schools.
- Schools are offering food to encourage sustainable diets. Vegan options are offered on a daily basis at 87 percent of the schools.
- A majority of schools (55 percent) report purchasing at least some cage-free eggs. Of these, 41 percent report purchasing all cage-free eggs.
- Three quarters of the schools have instituted trayless dining programs. Seventy-five percent of the schools have reduced their energy and food waste by eliminating trays in some or all of their dining facilities.
- The average grade for the Food & Recycling category is B+. For a summary of grade distribution for this category, please refer to the chart on the right.
Leading by Example
70 percent of schools have a community garden or farm on campus.