In an effort to conserve energy and reduce operating costs, our department has been working hard to improve the efficiency of our apartments, residence halls and dining centers.
Simple upgrades to these buildings resulted in a savings of hundreds of thousands of dollars over the 2011-2012 academic year, and a reduction in fossil fuel and water consumption equivalent to:
- Planting 116,156 trees
- Removing 7,642 cars on Manhattan roads (mid-size sedan driving 11,300 miles per year) that consume 3,889,712 gallons of gasoline
- The energy consumed by 1,721 single-family homes (30,000 kWh per year)
- The water needed to fill 427 Olympic-size swimming pools, which typically hold about 660 kgal of water.
Students who moved out in May 2014 enabled K-State to recycle more than 3,120 pounds of material. More than 27 percent of the material went to the local food pantry and other agencies for distribution. Clothes, food, books and other items were all diverted from the landfill and put to future use. This was accomplished with assistance from K-State Facilities personnel.
K-State's Dining Services also recognizes the importance of being good stewards of the Earth — and residents’ dollars. Here are a few highlights of our efforts to promote sustainability in our operations and lessen our impact on finite natural resources.
Award-Winning Recycling and Composting Efforts
Dining Services, in a collaborative effort with K-State Facilities, K-State Student Union food service by Sodexo and the Agronomy Department, composts a majority of its pre- and post-food waste right here on our campus. In May of 2013, this composting program earned K-State a Food Recovery Challenge Award from the Environmental Protection Agency Region 7. Part of the agency's WasteWise program, the Food Recovery Challenge award was received by only two participants in the region, which comprises Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska, as well as nine tribal nations. Composting on such a large scale takes a conscious effort from management, staff and students to be successful. The team at Dining Services is proud be part of this unique and innovative sustainability project. Read more.
Dining Services receives large volumes of food each day to prepare meals for the many students we serve. As a result, much waste is generated from product packaging. Glass, #10 cans, and plastic containers are reused when possible. Items that cannot be reused or are excess are recycled, as are cardboard boxes, newspapers, paper and magazines that are brought into the dining centers. We also purchase sacks for “to go meals" that are made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled materials.
All Taste No Waste Campaign
While many people in the world go hungry, Americans continue to throw away large quantities of food each day. Dining Services is working to reduce the amount of waste in our operations. The objective of the All Taste No Waste Campaign is to inform and educate about the environmental impact of this waste. We continually remind students to "take what you want, but eat what you take."
Leftover food that looks good, tastes good and is safe to eat is re-served to students each day. Safe food that is not re-served is frozen and donated to the Flint Hills Breadbasket. The Flint Hills Breadbasket is a nonprofit organization that works to minimize poverty and hunger in our community through the distribution of food products.
Farm to Fork Program
Dining Services has long recognized the importance of supporting the Kansas economy by purchasing from local and nearby producers. Over the past several years, our Farm to Fork program has allowed us to purchase from the following vendors:
Weber Hall Meat, Kansas State University
All hamburger patties, sausage links, steaks, beef roasts, fajita meat and other products (when available) are purchased from Weber Hall. Weber Hall is a USDA-inspected facility operated by the Department of Animal Sciences at K-State.
Call Hall Dairy, Kansas State University
All fluid milk, for both drinking and use in our recipes, is purchased from the USDA-inspected milk-processing plant at Call Hall. Dining Services also serves Call Hall ice cream when possible — a campus favorite.
Cereal Food Processors, McPherson, Kan.
Our baked goods are made with flours from wheat milled locally in McPherson, Kan., by Cereal Food Processors.
Other local items, in addition to the above, are purchased as they become available throughout the year. Choosing local products reduces transportation costs, supports area farmers and also reduces carbon dioxide and other harmful emissions.