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Georgia Institute of Technology

Dining @ Tech

Sustainability Initiatives

Your Dining Team is dedicated to sustainability.  We know we can all work together to make a positive impact right here at Georgia Tech.

Sustainability at GT

Receipt-less

Georgia Tech Dining Services has made the commitment to eliminate receipts at 15 dining locations. The sustainability initiative is a partnership with Campus Services, Malte Weiland, Sustainability Project Manager, and two Georgia Tech students, Zoe Holderness and Emma Weinberg.

In 2016, the 15 campus dining locations eliminating receipts had 2,474,839 transactions that each produced a receipt. If applying data from the Huffington post article that, “55,000 receipts spare one tree” then GT Dining Services will save roughly 45 trees annually by eliminating receipts. Click here to view participating locations.

STOP Hunger

Our entire team at Georgia Tech Dining Services is dedicated to helping those in need. Every October and November, we partner with STOP Hunger to raise money and collect cans on campus to benefit the Atlanta Community Food Bank and Klemis Kitchen. 

iCommit Sustainability Challenge in April

iCommit is our campus-wide initiative for enhancing our sustainability programs across campus. Each of our locations are currently working to establish new commitments to sustainability specific to their teams, and we will be posting them on our Facebook throughout the month of April! 


SMART

The Sustainability Management and Reporting Tool (SMART) is a comprehensive, yet easy to use dashboard that provides baseline sustainability performance, prioritizes initiatives, and tracks continuous improvement in four key areas - carbon and energy, water, waste, and healthy and sustainable food and environments.

Waste Reduction Efforts

The Campus Kitchen at Georgia Tech

The Campus Kitchen at Georgia Tech is a student-run organization that takes excess food provided by Georgia Tech Dining Services and donates it to local partners including the Atlanta Community Food Bank and With These Hands. The Campus Kitchen At Georgia Tech for won the 2015 Environmental Leadership Award.  Volunteer shifts occur each Friday at Brittain Community Restaurant at 3:30pm. If you are interested in volunteering, please email our unit marketing coordinator, Amanda Vargas.

The Klemis Kitchen

The Klemis Kitchen is a separate wing of the Campus Kitchen at Georgia Tech aimed at ending hunger for food insecure students at the institute. Named for Tommy Klemis, the renowned owner of Junior's Grill, the Klemis Kitchen provides access to free meals donated by Georgia Tech Dining Services for those in need. If you are a student facing hunger on campus, contact Dean John Stein or Dr. Dana Hartley here.

Recycling

On campus we recycle the following products: cardboard, glass, aluminum, paper, plastic. Our office, retail, and on-campus restaurant locations also recycle mixed office paper, totaling more than two cases of paper each week.

Composting

Food waste in landfills creates methane, a greenhouse gas which is 21x more potent than CO2.  (www.epa.gov)  Our first priority is to reduce food waste.  We compost food waste that is unavoidable which reduces greenhouse gas emissions and can also be used to amend soil thereby increasing drought tolerance, improving soil structure and health and reducing need for water and fertilizers.

In 2016, we composted over 295,575 pounds of waste.   

Bio-Digester

To further reduce the amount of solid food waste generated by our locations, we have installed a bio-digester at the North Avenue restaurant. The GreenKey bio-digester naturally converts up to 700 pounds of food waste into water within 24 hours. The bio-digester uses a blend of natural bacteria and enzymes which break down the food waste into water quickly and efficiently. 

Weigh the Waste

Did you know that 40% of the food produced in our country is wasted?  Periodically throughout the school year, we conduct a Weigh the Waste event.   During the event, we weigh all of the uneaten food from guest’s plates.  We consolidate the findings and report back to the community.  We tie this to an awareness campaign that informs guests about food waste and its impact to our environment and our communities.  We hold frequent campaigns in which we compare our results (and hopefully see our waste decline).  


Fall 2016 Georgia Tech Results:

North Ave Community Restaurant, Brittain Community Restaurant, Edge:

September 2016: Over 250 lbs of Waste

LeanPath

Reducing waste is very important.  It results in less food waste in landfills where it emits methane which is 21x more powerful than CO2.  The LeanPath kitchen waste tracking system records and tracks all of the food waste from our kitchen. This helps us to identify and change practices which result in food waste.  By tracking waste we inform our staff and focus our efforts.  On average, Sodexo has experienced a 40% decrease in kitchen food waste when the LeanPath system is in place. On our campus, the LeanPath pre-consumer waste tracking system is in place at North Avenue and Woodruff Community Restaurants.

Xprss Nap Dispensers

Xprss Nap Dispensers save energy and waste.  The napkins are made of 100% recycled paper and the dispenser will encourage customers to take (and waste) fewer napkins. Energy is saved because less power is used to recycle paper products than to create them from virgin material.  

APEX Dishwashing System

APEX combines technology and products designed to save water and energy, minimize the impact of products on the environment, and has a built-in method of measuring results. The APEX management approach uses a tablet PC and wireless technology to communicate with the system’s controller to download, process and analyze data to establish each foodservice operation’s “rack-to-guest ratio.” By monitoring and improving this ratio, the system helps reduce the amount of water and energy used at each facility, and improve total operational efficiency.

Bulk Condiments

Individual packets of condiments are useful in some instances, but they result in extra waste.  If you are dining on site or you can add the sauce to your item before you leave, please use the bulk dispensers to reduce our waste.

Recycling Fryer Oil into Biofuel

French fries to fuel.  Indeed, our fryer oil is recycled into biodiesel that is used to power a variety of vehicles  - from delivery  fleets to farm equipment.

Printing on Both Sides of the Paper

To save paper, we use paper with recycled content and we print on both sides whenever possible.

Reusable Dishware

We offer china dishes in our dining locations.  This reduces waste associated with using disposable containers.  Dining in?  Be sure to use china.  We also use china at our catered functions on site.

Green Cleaning

“Green Seal”

92% of the chemicals Sodexo uses are “Green Seal” certified, concentrated or sustainable.

Energy Reduction Efforts

Daylighting

The windows in our dining room allow us to enjoy a tremendous amount of natural light while dining.  Natural light not only provides a more comfortable environment, it also reduces our energy usage by allowing us to turn off lights.

The North Avenue Restaurant was constructed with daylighting in mind and features large windows along the entire front area of the restaurant that allow us to use fewer lights at the location. 

On/Off Protocol

To save energy, we only turn our equipment on when it is needed and turn it off as soon as we are done using it for the day.

Energy Star Appliances

ENERGY STAR is a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) voluntary program that helps businesses and individuals save money and protect our climate through superior energy efficiency.  When replacing equipment we choose Energy Star rated appliances.

Energy Efficient Lighting

Where feasible we have replaced our incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs to reduce our energy consumption.

Water Efficient Faucets

Where possible, we have replaced our traditional faucets with low-flow faucets that reduce our water consumption by more than 50%.

No Idling at Loading Docks

Working with our vendors, our catering staff and our campus facility services staff to make sure all vehicles are turned off while they are parked in our loading dock.

Local / Seasonal / Responsible Sourcing

Herb Garden

The discovery of America itself is linked to Western civilization’s search for easier access to rare spices and herbs. Columbus was hoping to open trade routes for these substances when he blundered into the West Indies and the Age of Exploration unveiled the New World.  You do not have to be explorer to enjoy the delights of fresh herbs.  Our campus herb garden opens the door to a world of flavor in our very own "backyard."

Our garden is located on the second floor balcony of the Student Center, and features fresh flat leaf basil, parsley, dill, and rosemary, which is utilized in our Food Court locations, as well as Ferst Place.

Farmers Markets

Farmers Markets bring the idea of local home for many of us.  That is why we work closely with our local suppliers to feature locally grown products at campus Farmer's Markets. 

More information about the Georgia Tech Farmers market can be found here

Local Suppliers 

We work closely with local produce distributors to maximize the fruits and vegetables purchased from local farms. We also purchase from local dairies, and participate in farm to school initiatives.  Tracking local purchases helps us to meet our Better Tomorrow Plan commitment of 20% local purchase by 2020. 

We are proud to feature the following local suppliers: 

FreshPoint Produce (Atlanta, GA)

R&G Farms Lettuce (Dublin, GA)

Halperns’ Angus Beef, Chicken, and Seafood (Atlanta, GA)

Tanimaura and Antle Lettuce (Livingston, TN)

Sustainable Fish and Seafood

We are committed to serving sustainable seafood and fish.  By 2020 100% of our fish and seafood will be sustainably certified by the Marine Stewardship Council or the Best Aquaculture Practices.  We do not purchase any at risk species.

Local Dairy

All of our fluid milk is purchased from local dairies that do not use rBST.

Aspretto

Going forward by giving back.  We are proud to feature 100% Transfair, Fair Trade USA certified Aspretto coffee and 100% USDA certified organic and ethically sourced Numi teas. Everything that touches the product is green, from the 10% post-consumer fiber cups to the renewable resource stirrers to the fair trade sugar wrapped in recyclable paper and printed with vegetable dye.


Organic

Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations.  Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones.  Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation.  Before a product can be labeled ‘organic,’ a Government-approved certified inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards.  Look for the menu icon identifying organic foods.

You can also find numerous organic options at the Georgia Tech Farmers Market.

Sustainable Catering

All it takes are a few simple steps to more sustainable catered events.    We feature menus that are locally grown, seasonal, organic, vegetarian and/or well balanced. We use china serviceware whenever possible, but if necessary, we try to use compostable and/or recyclable disposable ware.  We strive to eliminate bottled beverages when possible by replacing them with pitchers of drinks and reusable glassware.

Each season we unveil a catering menu that highlights the season's bounty.  Not only does it increase variety, it also features food that is in season.

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