UCI Hospitality & Dining is committed to sustainable practices in our services, food and products. We’re also committed to educating the campus community about sustainability. We proudly support the sustainability goals of the UC Office of the President (UCOP) in reducing waste and greenhouse gas emissions, increasing the sustainable foods we offer, and reducing water usage.
UCI Hospitality & Dining, in conjunction with dining partner Aramark Higher Education, was awarded the 2014 EPA Food Recovery Challenge Narrative Award for Source Reduction.
Achieving Zero Waste
“Zero Waste” means 95% or more of all solid waste is diverted from landfills. Mesa, Pippin and Brandywine Commons, Phoenix Food Court and Alumni Café are all Zero Waste locations. Mesa Commons was the first Zero Waste daily-use facility in the UC system. Additionally, the Bren Events Center, which includes Concessions, holds Zero Waste events.
Organic waste from our dining locations is anaerobically digested and the resulting biogas is used to help fuel the Irvine Ranch Water District. In addition to diverting waste that is generated through anaerobic digestion, recycling and donation of excess unserved food, we avoid generating waste through responsible ordering and education of our students. Our programs target multiple levels of the Food Recovery Hierarchy established by the U.S. EPA. Events focused on waste minimization and diversion include our bi-quarterly Weigh the Waste events, Recyclemania and “Know Youtr Recyclables” activities, World Water Day and Composting Kick-Offs for our retail dining locations, among others.
Providing Sustainable Foods
UC Irvine supports the UCOP commitment to achieve and maintain 20% sustainable food purchases by 2020. UCI Hospitality & Dining, in conjunction with Aramark, reached 26% sustainable food purchases in 2014-2015, continuing to exceed the 20% by 2020 goal in both residential and retail dining. Reinforcing our commitment to sustainably sourced coffees, UCI Hospitality & Dining converted Cyber A Café to an ecoGrounds™ café. Currently, 32% of all food purchases for Mesa, Pippin and Brandywine Commons are sustainable under the UCOP Sustainable Practices Policy. These foods include local foods from over 130 vendors within 250 miles of UC Irvine, USDA Organic, Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance certified foods, Cage-Free eggs and seafood that adheres to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Guide standards for Best Choices and Good Alternatives.
Reducing Water Usage
In addition to using EnergyStar appliances in several of our dining locations on campus, UCI Hospitality & Dining educates students about how to reduce water usage by replacing disposables with reusables. We also provide reusable bottles and other products to facilitate reuse.
Green Captain Program
UCI Hospitality & Dining identifies employees who are passionate about sustainability to be Green Captains each year. Green Captains are responsible for implementing practices designed to reduce the environmental impact of campus dining locations and for educating students through events about environmental sustainability and UCI Hospitality & Dining.