2013 Sustainability Report

Boston University Dining Services is pleased to report the sustainable progress that we have made in 2012 across campus. As we continue our mission to serve wholesome, delicious, and affordable food to the BU community and its guests, we strive to do so with the smallest environmental impact. As we operate to reduce our use of natural resources, we do so with a parallel goal: the extension of the dining hall as the classroom. As we change how things are done in our kitchens and dining rooms, we strive to communicate both the challenges and benefits to our main customers: students. By making students aware of our initiatives, goals, and challenges, we hope to create knowledgeable and empowered consumers and operators, who will demand high standards from their food sources, both while on campus and as they make their own path after graduation.

See how we did it this year!

We started with local sources

Our mission: BU Dining Services' sustainability program strives to create positive environmental and social impacts through its daily operations and programming. Through responsible procurement, a comprehensive waste reduction and diversion program, and efficient facilities operations, our goal is to reduce our carbon footprint by sending less waste to the incinerator and lessening our reliance on non-renewable energy sources. By sourcing food from local and sustainable farms and producers, our goal is to build and maintain a campus-wide sustainable food system to provide the BU community with wholesome options, support the local economy, preserve farmland in New England, and support environmentally friendly agricultural practices.


Sustainable for the earth & the economy

An emphasis on local produce helps reduce our carbon footprint by reducing shipping distance and supports a healthy local economy.

We made meals that made a
difference from our neighbors' farms …

Sustainable seafood in practice

In 2012, Dining Services partnered with the Gulf of Maine Research Institute to promote underutilized Gulf of Maine species. For the month of October, we promoted Atlantic Pollock at Rhett's and the three residential dining halls.

Our kitchen uses:
Marine Stewardship Council–Certified Pacific Cod
Prince Edward Island Blue Mussels
Maine Lobster
Meet Rob Campbell

Rob is one of many local suppliers BU Dining Services works with every year to help bring fresh, sustainable products into our meal offerings. See how we're making an impact every day and meet the farmers responsible for the food on your plate.

See farmer profiles
Prince Edward Aqua Farms

Prince Edward Aqua Farms

Prince Edward Island, Canada


Located in New London, Prince Edward Aqua Farms has been fishing a variety of shellfish since 1989. They are passionate about sustainability, seen through their efforts to reduce the possiblity of potentially-invasive species and their extensive waste recovery system. Shellfish aquaculture is also known to help naturally filter the surrounding water. PEI mussels are available throughout the year at BU dining halls.

Great Brook Farms

Great Brook Farm

Carlisle, Massachusetts

Milk, Butter, Sour Cream

Great Brook Farm is a unique dairy farm located in a Massachusetts state park. Mark and Tamma Duffy are first generation farmers managing 140 cows on 300 acres. Great Brook Farm is a member of Cabot Creamery Cooperative, a dairy farm co-op made up of family farms throughout New England and New York that provides BU with its butter and sour cream on a daily basis.

Jonathan's Organics

Jonathan's Organic

Rochester, Massachusetts

Bean and alfalfa sprouts

Jonathan's Organics has been family owned and operated by Bob and Barbara Sanderson since 1976. The farm produces a variety of herbs and vegetables, but focuses primarily on alfalfa and bean sprouts. Certified Organic and grown in greenhouses, Jonathan's uses no toxic or synthetic chemicals on their crops to maintain a healthy environment and product. Their wholesome sprouts are delivered to BU year-round.

Ward's Berry Farm

Ward's Berry Farm

Sharon, Massachusetts

Squash, Corn

Ward's Berry Farm is operated by brothers Jim and Bob Ward. A variety of vegetables and small fruits are grown on the 178 acres using an integrated pest management strategy to reduce the use of synthetic pesticides. Ward's Berry Farm also provides its delicious produce through a BU-sponsored CSA each year and can be found at BU farmers' markets in the fall!

… to our students' plates.

Make a Difference Monday

Make a Difference Monday is celebrated in the dining halls every Monday. By focusing on plant-based entrees, we are reducing our carbon footprint by about 8 metric tons each week! Make a Difference Monday is also about showcasing seasonal and local fruits and vegetables and ingredients and sustainable seafood.

Why plant-based entrees?

Plants have a smaller carbon footprint than animals in many ways. One example of this is the amount of water it takes to raise a kilo of beef.

How long would you need to run a shower to meet the water needs of a kilo of beef? You would have to shower for 19 hours and 10 minutes to collect the same amount of water a kilo of beef needs. Don't prune up!
See the answer
Tasty tofu breakfasts
New proteins for vegans
Now offering vegan treats
Also serving vegan pizza

Improved Vegan and Vegetarian Dining

In 2012, Dining Services created a committee with the BU Vegetarian Society, in order to best meet the needs of vegetarians and vegans on campus, who comprise about 12% of diners. Here are some improvements we made:

  • Tofu scrambles available every morning for breakfast, with nutritional yeast as condiment
  • Seitan, quinoa, tofu, tempeh served as part of vegan meals
  • Vegan desserts available at the GSU and dining halls
  • Vegan pizzas as part of regular offering at dining halls
  • Vegan sandwiches at the deli
  • Increased labeling of vegan options across campus

Our goal:

Every vegan meal will include a hearty protein for a balanced meal.

Cage-Free Eggs

In September 2012, Dining Services began serving only cage-free & American certified humane eggs.

To put that change into perspective, that's over four million eggs every year.

This year,
we set the bar for waste reduction in Massachusetts.

In 2013, BU Dining Services was asked to serve as a case study for the Mass DEP's Recycling Works program, to help other Massachusetts institutions and businesses prepare for the upcoming organics waste stream ban.

Student recycles at Boston University

Total recycling by BU Dining

Graph of Total Recycling by BU Dining
Total recycling in tons
1,200 1,000 800 600 400 200 0
Calendar Year
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Our long-term goal is to reduce overall waste while maximizing waste diversion from the landfill. Our waste numbers are declining in the graph for this reason.

2012 progress in a nutshell

Supporting our community

Dining Services donates on a daily basis to several local food banks and shelters through the Community Service Center's Student Food Rescue at Boston University, including:

  • Rosie's Place
  • Boston Rescue Mission
  • Kenmore Abbey
  • Safe Haven for Women
  • On the Rise Women's Shelter

Student Food Rescue was founded by a group of BU student volunteers in the spring of 1988. Volunteers collect nearly 150,000 pounds of food annually from Boston restaurants, supermarkets, bakeries, grocery surplus facilities, and coffee shops.

69% waste diversion rate at the George Sherman Union in 2012
32 tons of waste diverted at the 2012 Commencement ceremony
In 2012, there was a 50% increase in beverage purchases using our reusable mug discount program. That increase accounts for over 10,000 paper cups saved from the landfill.
Over 100 of our new reusable to-go containers were sold in 2012 at the GSU.

In 2012, Dining Services recycled 2,298,000 pounds of glass, aluminum, plastic, cardboard, paper, small electronics, printer cartridges, and fryer oil.

SOMAT extractor and pulper

The SOMAT extractor and pulper system at 100 Bay State Road helps us to consolidate our food waste by extracting 85% of the water from the food waste and greatly reducing volume. The food waste is picked up once a week as opposed to six days a week at other large locations on campus. This reduces our carbon footprint.

This apple reduces to
85% less mass

We spread the word through community outreach

From Farm to Table

BU Farmers' Market

The farmers' market connects consumers to their food sources, emphasizing the importance of supporting local agriculture and producers as well as introducing and fostering the notion of seasonality in New England. Equally important is bringing in local farmers and producers from surrounding communities and establishing a close relationship that fosters trust, understanding, and reciprocity. By connecting local artisans, farmers, producers, and artists, the local economy is stimulated and the University is engaged with the local agricultural and artisan community.

See the Farmers' Market

Ward's Berry Farm CSA

A University-wide farmshare or CSA (community shared agriculture) program started in 2010, offering avid locavores the opportunity to order a weekly box of seasonally harvested produce from Ward's Berry Farm in Sharon, MA. The CSA is the best way to get in touch with New England seasonality and try new fruits and vegetables, grown by your local farmer. Ever cooked with kohlrabi, popped your own popcorn from the kernel, or baked a blueberry pie with some juicy, New England blueberries?

See the CSA Program

Six years of sustainability


A commitment to sustainability

Impact this year: 4.43 tons of waste saved
In partnership with Save that Stuff, all Dining Services employees and managers are trained on how to sort food waste and organics, recycling, and cardboard

Fueling the initiative

Impact this year: 508 tons of waste diverted from the landfill
All dining halls go trayless

Food waste is reduced by an estimated 33%

Fryer oil begins diversion to biodiesel
First Farmers' Market
The first sustainability coordinator for Dining Services is hired
The Dining & Sustainability Committee is created

Commitment to Zero Waste

Impact this year: 696 tons of waste diverted from the landfill
25-cent-mug discount is offered for reusable mug usage on campus
Compostable tableware replaces non-compostable
Zero waste catering begins

Compostable tableware and recycling is sorted behind the scenes at staffed events. Garbage cans begin to disappear from the floor of events in 2010!

First Zero Waste commencement: 11 tons are diverted

CSA and Composting

Impact this year: 1,131 tons of waste diverted from the landfill
First CSA box offered with Ward's Berry Farm

The brainchild of BU student Joe Nangle, SMG '12, the Farmers' Market partnered with Ward's Berry Farm to offer a weekly box of seasonal and fresh-picked fruits and vegetables each week to students, staff, and faculty at BU.

Began post-consumer composting at the GSU
Boston University received a Silver rating from AASHE STARS

Dining Services was awarded points for sustainable purchasing, trayless dining and more


Building Community Outreach

Impact this year: 1,208 tons of waste diverted from the landfill
Make a Difference Monday begins once a month in dining halls

Make a Difference Monday is a special meal at breakfast, lunch, and dinner in residential dining halls, which celebrates foods with a lower carbon footprint. Dining halls feature more vegetarian options, sustainable seafood, local and seasonal fruits and vegetables, and organic third-party certified foods, instead of higher carbon foods such as beef and pork.

Dining Services holds Sustainable Seafood panel
First field trip, to local dairy farm — Smith's Country Cheese in Winchendon, MA with Keep Local Farms
Field trip to AD Makepeace cranberry bog and apple orchard for apple picking
Boston University received a Silver rating from AASHE STARS

Dining Services was awarded points for sustainable purchasing, vegan dining, and more


Leaders in Sustainability

1,149 tons of waste diverted from the landfill (due to waste reduction!)
GSU is awarded 3 stars from Green Restaurant Association, the highest GRA restaurant rating in New England and the only food court in the country with a GRA Certification
Field trip to Mass Audubon's Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary for Flapjack Fling
Mayor Thomas M. Menino awards BU Dining Services the City of Boston Sustainable Food Leadership Award
Dining Services hosts Sustainable Agriculture panel
100 Bay State Rd Executive Chef Adam Pagan teaches improv cooking classes using the weekly produce in the Ward's Berry Farm CSA box
Boston University received a Silver rating from AASHE STARS

Dining Services was awarded points for sustainable purchasing, composting, and more

Make a Difference Monday goes weekly in dining halls

In 2013, we're continuing our impact

Of all the colleges and universities across the country, Boston University has the four highest rated Certified Green Restaurants — period.

BU's commitment to sustainable dining enabled the University to become the first and only in the country honored with four-star ratings from the Green Restaurant Association. Additionally, the George Sherman Union's Union Court dining facility received a three-star rating from the GRA, the only food court in the country to be certified.

Certified Green Restaurant - 4 stars

With the highest scores in the New England Area

and recognition from Mayor Thomas M. Menino last year in Sustainable Food Leadership See the Press Release

we're thrilled and humbled by what we've accomplished so far.

From everyone here at Boston University Dining Services, thank you for your continued support and another successful year.