Sustainability: What We Do

University Dining is proud to be a contributing partner in the university’s overall goal to conserve energy, use resources wisely and reduce our carbon footprint. Learn more about our sustainability initiatives:

Composting Initiative

Sustainability at University Dining | Composting University Dining began a composting initiative in all dining hall facilities in August 2010. The initiative became a reality when an audit by Waste Reduction and Recycling (WRR) found that 70 percent of waste generated by Fountain Dining Hall was compostable. Composting in dining halls will assist with NC State University’s goal to increase the amount of waste diverted from the landfill to 65 percent by 2015.DID YOU KNOW?

  • From 2010-2011 NC State generated 301 tons of compost
  • From 2011-2012 NC State Dining generated 373 tons of compost. That is as much as three freight trains!

Take-Out Program

Sustainability at University Dining | Take Out Program Our dining hall take-out program, Pack&Go, features a reusable, recyclable take-out container. It’s economical and good for the environment.DID YOU KNOW?
The dining hall take-out program has diverted over 85,972 styrofoam to-go containers from March 2009 to April 2013 by providing  reusable, recyclable containers for guests to utilize.

Going Trayless

Sustainability at University Dining | Going Trayless While drought conditions in early 2008 prompted us to conserve water by removing trays from our three dining halls, we decided to make the change permanent. Since then, we have conserved an average of 51,000 gallons of water weekly. Food waste and energy usage are down, too.DID YOU KNOW?
By going trayless, we have saved more than 6 million gallons of water. That is enough to fill 10 Olympic swimming pools!

Recycled Cooking Oil

Sustainability at University Dining | Oil Recycling Prior to January 2008, University Dining paid a company to collect and dispose of our used cooking oil. Since then, however, we contracted Piedmont Biofuels to collect our oil waste (~1000 gallons per month) and convert it into biodiesel fuel. Not only is the oil being put to good use, but it also is collected at no cost to us, saving thousands of dollars each year.DID YOU KNOW?
Since 2008, Piedmont Biofuels has helped us to recycle more than 55,000 gallons of cooking oil into sustainable fuels. That is enough to run 10 Wolfline busses for 10 years!

Waste Reduction and Recycling

Sustainability at University Dining | Waste Reduction and Recycling
  • Using reusable dinnerware at the dining halls instead of disposables
  • Recycling of cardboard at all locations
  • Recycling of office paper at all locations
  • Recycling of plastic bottles and aluminum cans in most locations
  • Upgrading HVAC controls at Fountain Dining Hall to improve energy efficiency
  • Increasing use of electronic media to reduce paper use
  • Operating the Cbord Food Management System, a sophisticated computerized food production system. It is designed to drastically reduce waste through “just in time” purchasing methods and eliminate wasted foods through overproduction. Even the re-use of leftover foods is a step towards sustainability


Sustainability at University Dining | Research University Dining has also conducted research into topics such as cage-free egg products, organically grown produce, composting and various conservation methods. These programs have yet to be implemented to date. As organic products become more main stream, it will be easier and less cost prohibitive to make use of these products. Similar to eliminating trans fats in foods available through main line food distributors, University Dining believes that organic foods will follow a similar path and be adopted into traditional food-delivery processes.


sustainabililty_participate If you have ideas for or questions regarding University Dining’s environmentally friendly practices, please contact us here.Learn about our alumni initiative: My Roots are at NC State »Learn about our green partner initiative »View sustainability events »