Aramark dining services takes measures to reduce environmental footprint

Sarah Bunde

Sarah Bunde

At Aramark Higher Education, we have a deep respect for and commitment to protecting and improving the environment. Through our corporation, we develop and implement long-term environmental stewardship programs and policies, which we call “Green Thread,” as they weave throughout our business operations every day. We continuously work toward reducing our environmental footprint.

Since the beginning of fall semester, Jacks’ Dining is almost 100 percent Styrofoam-free. Paper, compostable and reusable products have replaced Styrofoam products. The Market in The Union and Medary Market are selling reusable containers for a one-time charge of $3.50, and 375 containers have been sold thus far.

To reduce waste, we have Project Sustainability reusable bags for sale at the C-Store.

Larson Commons dims the lights once a week to save energy and remind students to reduce their energy consumption by simply turning off lights and electronics when not in use.

Jacks’ Dining has implemented a Joe-to-Grow program at its Java City locations. Customers can take used coffee grounds free of charge for their own personal use. Ways to use the grounds are: food for plants, insect repellent, deodorizer and more. Just ask the baristas for some grounds.

All three Java City locations are 100 percent EcoGrounds. The EcoGrounds program mission is to work with coffee producers on social responsibility, economic equality and ecological integrity.

As part of our Green Thread platform, Jacks’ Dining is participating in Aramark’s Green Stakes initiatives. The five categories are energy and water conservation, fryer oil conversion, daily green cleaning product usage, sustainable food offerings, and recycled paper purchasing. Checklists are completed to determine what Jacks’ Dining has already implemented and where we can improve our efforts.

We will continue to use local product. Currently, we offer SDSU-produced ice cream and milk in our locations. We are partnering with the meat lab and dairy bar to sell SDSU products at the concession stands during football and basketball games.

At the beginning of the summer, Jacks’ Dining began partnering with an SDSU employee who converts our used fryer oil for local use. He supplies the sustainable oil free of charge to South Dakota residents in the agricultural arena.

Jacks’ Dining participated in SDSU’s first zero waste event last semester. The intent of the event was to have no actual waste before, during and after. The vast majority of the food that was served was prepared on hand. This was done to decrease waste and ensure no leftovers. No disposable items were used for this event, and all items that could be recycled were. Aramark and Jacks’ Dining purchased a compost tumbler and donated it to the Sierra Club to be used at zero waste events throughout the University.

We have worked with The Union to provide additional recycling bins. $1,000 was donated to this cause.

This Spring Semester, we are developing a Jacks’ Dining Sustainability Committee, made up of employees from each location, which will help expand and create new initiatives. We also look forward to working with SDSU’s Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability Committee for ways we can support their mission.

Sarah Bunde is the marketing coordinator for SDSU Dining Services/Aramark Higher Education. She is also on SDSU’s Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability Committee.