Dining Services is engaged in many initiatives in the hopes of creating a more environmentally friendly and sustainable campus. We are pleased to work with various student groups and campus partners in creating a campus culture of social, economic, and environmental responsibility.
Many of our sustainability efforts closely align with the United States Environmental Protection Agency's Food Recovery Hierarchy. The Food Recovery Hierarchy gives us a basic framework from which to strategize and implement sustainability initiatives and goals.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln defines local as foods obtained from a 250-mile radius of Lincoln and anywhere in Nebraska.
The Nebraska. Local. (formerly known as Good. Fresh. Local.) program began in September 2005 and is a very popular local dining program with students and the university community.
Current producers in the Nebraska. Local. program include:
- Plum Creek Farms
- Raikes Beef Co.
- Pekarek's Produce
- Long Tree Foods
- Abie Vegetable
- Robinette Farms
- Hiland Dairy
- E. Bee's Honey LLC.
Defined as the decrease in volume of extra food that is generated in a food establishment. Dining Services pursues increased source reduction in a number of ways.
By closely following recipes when preparing meals to not over-prepare the amount of food needed.
A tool that allows food establishments to track what food is being wasted and why. It is a software, analytics, and collection technology that measures the amount of food wast produced in each dining center. The program also allows food establishments to understand why a certain food is being wasted and reduce the amount of food waste it produces.
As of March 31, 2022, Leanpath helped Dining Services:
- prevent 68,840 pounds of food waste
- avoid 217.53 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions
- keep 57,367 meals in the food system.
Each dining center has a baseline number for the amount of food waste produced that they aim to not go over. Any amount that is less than the baseline number is considered food waste that was prevented. Therefore, the above March 31, 2022 information was calculated by assessing the change in waste compared to the weekly baseline.
OZZI reusable containers and receptacles
Allow students to take to-go meals in reusable containers and drop empty containers off at receptacles when finished. The containers are washed and returned to the system for use.
This program reduces the number, and therefore cost, of to-go paper products needed and decreases carbon footprint as well as offers an easy, convenient option for students to help make the university more sustainable.
OZZI containers & receptacles
“The decrease in the quantity or quality of food resulting from decisions and actions by retailers, food service providers and consumers.”
Institute of Science and Technology
Examples of food waste include taking more food than an individual can eat at dining halls and throwing the excess food away, throwing foods away that are near their “best-by” date or after their expiration date, and/or the skins or peels of fruits and vegetables that are uneaten.
Food waste contributes to labor and disposal costs at food service establishments which can lead to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions and landfill waste.
Dining Services strives to educate and encourage students to participate in reducing the university’s food waste by being respectful of the amount of food they take at self-serve dining centers. By consuming all of the food they take at dining centers, students can avoid contributing to the food waste produced by the university.
“The decrease in the quantity or quality of food resulting from decisions and actions by food suppliers in the chain, excluding retailers, food service providers and consumers.”
Institute of Science and Technology
An example of food loss is food that is thrown away at the time of harvest.
A lack of availability to food by individuals due to financial reasons or other burdens in an individual’s life.
“Nearly 1 in 3 students on UNL’s campus worry about not having enough food until they have money to buy more.”
We work with ASUN student government and the Husker Pantry to hold food drives to supply food to the Husker Pantry.
Dining Services donates one free meal ticket to Husker Pantry for every meal plan sold by University Housing, giving students needing assistance an opportunity to eat meals at the dining centers.
This 501c3 non-profit organization is used by Dining Services to provide excess food for individuals throughout the Lincoln community.
Dining Centers maintain excess food at correct time and temperature requirements, then FoodNet picks up the food and distributes it to identified distribution locations throughout Lincoln.
Industrial Uses for used cooking oil
Dining Service dining centers work with other companies to recycle oils used for food preparation into fuel or other uses.
“Compost is created by combining organic wastes, such as wasted food, yard trimmings, manure, or wood chips, and stabilizing the mixture through a curing process that destroys pathogens by using high temperatures.”
United States Environmental Protection Agency
Composting food decreases the amount of food waste that ends up in landfills and, therefore, reduces the carbon footprint. The University of Nebraska–Lincoln utilizes compost bins on East Campus to help reduce the amount of food waste produced by the facility.
Are enclosed units which work by degrading food waste into smaller particles, similar to how a stomach digests food. The material that is left after the biodigester breaks down the food can be added to soil to provide fertilizer or nutrients or can be disposed of in the sewer system.
We uses biodigesters at dining center locations (Abel, Cather, Harper, and Selleck) to help reduce transportation costs and the amount of food waste placed in landfills.