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:
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:
You can also find many locally-sourced items at the Village Market and in the POD markets:
Want to see more local products in the PODs? Email Leah Powley with your suggestions!
For more information on local sourcing and local food systems, contact Leah Powley, Clemson Dining's Sustainability Manager.
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.
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.
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.
When we have a large volume of surplus food left over from catered events or when our dining locations close for school breaks or other events, we try our best to collect as much edible surplus food as possible to donate to local food pantries. We currently send our donations to the Golden Corner Food Pantry in Seneca, SC. In Fall 2019, we donated over 7,200 pounds of surplus food to the pantry!
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. And, if you’re interested in learning more about food waste minimization and the food donation process, please contact us!
Reusing is always preferable to recycling or composting. If you use a travel mug or other reusable cup, you can save 10 cents on your beverage purchase at locations across campus, including Einstein Brothers Bagels, Starbucks, Watt Café, and P.O.D. Markets.
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 straws only upon request and by replacing plastic straws with compostable alternatives. We also work with our retail partners, like Starbucks, to minimize straw use and offering in retail food spaces. While dining on campus, challenge yourself and your friends to forgo straws, stirrers, and other single-use plastic items wherever possible!
Getting your meal to-go from any of our dining halls? Our to-go containers from Schilletter and The Fresh Food Company dining halls are 100% compostable. Until we get campus wide composting, we encourage you to bring your compostable to-go containers back to the dining hall dish lines for proper disposal in campus compost.
To access dining hall to-go meals, just let a cashier at Schilletter or Fresh Food Company know that you would like to use a to-go meal before you swipe or tap your card. To-go boxes are not permitted for dine-in use in any of the dining halls.
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.
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.
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!