We work together to continually develop and implement sustainable solutions. Through Green Thread, our environmental sustainability platform, we bring innovative and efficient solutions to life. We are passionately focused on reducing the environmental impacts associated with our operations.


Here are just a few ways we work to make our campus more environmentally conscious:

To-Go Containers

Looking to get your meal to-go from McAlister or Schilletter dining hall? New this fall 2021, Clemson Dining is moving to reusable to-go containers at our two dining halls!

To access dining hall to-go meals:

  1. You will need to enroll in the OZZI To-Go program, and will receive an OZZI token to take advantage of the To-Go program.
    • All meal-plan holders receive free program enrollment
    • If you do not have a meal plan but want to take a to-go meal, you will need to buy into the program for $5.
  2. Once you have enrolled in the program, you can start taking your meals to-go. Let a cashier at McAlister or Schilletter dining hall know that you would like to use a to-go meal before you swipe or tap your card. 
  3. Hand your OZZI token to the cashier to exchange it for a clean reusable to-go container.
  4. Fill and use your clean container for your dining hall to-go meal.
  5. When finished, empty your container of any leftover food, napkins, etc. 
  6. Bring your used container to an OZZI return machine at either McAlister or Schilletter Dining Hall, and follow the return instructions on the machine.
  7. You will receive an OZZI token to keep and return for your next to-go meal. If you lose your token, you will need to buy back into the program for $5 to continue use.

To-go boxes are not permitted for dine-in use in any of the dining halls. Customers are allowed one to-go meal per meal period. Visit our To-Go Container FAQ's!

Diagram of Reusable Container Use Cycle


Local Purchasing

Did you know Clemson Dining sources food from many local farmers, growers, and distributors? The list changes throughout the year, depending on seasonal availability, but here is a sampling of a few of our partners:

Local foods map

 

 

You can also find many locally-sourced items at Village Market and in the POD markets:

 local foods map

 

Want to see more local products in the PODs? Email Leah Powley with your suggestions!


Composting

Composting is the process of recycling organic materials—such as leaf litter, plant and grass cuttings, and food scraps—into useable, nutrient-rich soil amendments. Clemson Dining collects pre- and post-consumer food waste and scraps from all dining halls and some campus retail outlets to be composted at Clemson’s Cherry Crossing research facility. Compostable service items, including to-go boxes, compostable utensils, and napkins, are also collected for composting.

3 steps of Clemson composting

Plant-based organic waste (such as the compostable containers, napkins, and food scraps from the dining areas) break down many times faster in industrial composting systems than they would in backyard compost bins or in the landfill. Organic waste can be composted in a variety of systems. The team at Cherry Crossing manage aerated static pile, aerated windrow, and in-vessel compost systems.

The finished compost is used in numerous ways, including by campus landscaping and botanical garden staff. You can also get some Clemson compost for your own yard or garden!

Interested in learning more about Clemson’s compost or touring the facility? Contact Leah Powley for more information.


Recycling

Clemson Dining partners with campus facilities to recycle food waste for compost, cardboard, and paper products from dining locations across campus to minimize our environmental footprint. We also recycle metal, plastic, and plastic film where possible. Our team also recycles printer cartridges and batteries from our office locations. Look for signs in dining locations for information on where to put your recyclable items!


Fryer Oil Recycling

Not only do we recycle our used fryer oil, but we filter it multiple times to extend its lifespan, reducing the total amount of oil we use and waste. When we are finished using the fryer oil, some of it is collected and converted into biodiesel by the team at Clemson’s Cherry Crossing research facility. The remaining oil is collected and recycled by Filta Group into additional biodiesel at a facility with greater capacity.


Food Waste Minimization

Clemson Dining follows a 5-part food planning process to minimize the amount of food waste associated with our operations. Using tracking and forecasting tools, we identify popular and less popular dishes and alter our preparation and future volumes accordingly.

Food Recovery Hierarchy  

We currently send our donations to the Golden Corner Food Pantry (Seneca, SC), Clemson Community Care (Clemson, SC), Littlejohn Community Center (Clemson, SC), and the Clemson University Paw Pantry. Since the beginning of 2020, we have donated over 44,000 pounds of surplus food to these partner organizations.

If you are passionate about tackling the problem of food insecurity or are simply interested in volunteering in the community, consider helping out at Golden Corner or at the Clemson Paw Pantry.

If you’re interested in learning more about food waste minimization and the food donation process, please contact Leah Powley.


Reusables

Reusing is always preferable to recycling or composting. If you use a travel mug or other reusable cup, you can save $0.10 on your beverage purchase at locations across campus including Einstein Brothers Bagels, Starbucks, Watt Café, and P.O.D. Markets.

Sip smarter savings facts


Sip Smarter

Did you know that every year, over 8 million tons of plastic leaks into Earth’s oceans? That’s equivalent to one garbage truck full of plastic dumping its contents into the ocean every minute of every day!

We are committed to reducing our contribution to this issue and phasing out single-use plastics wherever we can across our operations.Clemson Dining is working to reduce the use of straws in our dining halls by offering strawless sip-lids for take-out beverages and offering straws only upon request where possible. We also work with our retail partners, like Starbucks, to minimize straw use. 

While dining on campus, challenge yourself and your friends to forgo straws, stirrers, and other single-use plastic items wherever possible!


Trayless Dining

Clemson Dining has been trayless since 2005. Dining trayless reduces food waste, conserves energy and water, and limits the amount of cleaning chemicals entering the waste stream.


Responsible Sourcing

Clemson Dining follows numerous sourcing commitments in our efforts to increase the sustainability of our sourcing and support producers following humane and sustainable practices. You can read more about our commitments around:


Energy & Water Conservation

We provide our employees each semester with common tips to conserve energy and water, both at home and at work. When appropriate, we also try to install energy- and resource-efficient appliances, including a high-efficiency dishwasher installed at East Side Food Court in 2019. With this new appliance alone, we will save 167,000 gallons of water and prevent the emission of 3.7 metric tons of carbon each year.


Events

Clemson Dining helps host multiple sustainability-focused events each semester, such as Meet Your Farmer lunches, Weigh the Waste and Food Waste Buffet events, local vendor samplings, and seasonal farmers’ markets.

Check out @ClemsonDining on Instagram for more information on other dining events happening this semester!