“What Goes Where?”

Approaching a waste separation station can often be confusing. What items go where? What can be composted? Recycled? What has to be sent to the landfill? We are partnering with Facilities Management and the Office of Sustainability to develop recycling and waste standards for the campus. Learn more about campus recycling programs.

Waste Reduction

Throughout all of our operations, we aim to reduce waste. Here are some things we do:

  • Cook to order— Cooking food in smaller batches closer to the time of service results in higher food quality and dramatically reduces leftovers and waste.
  • Reusable carryout is now available— By using reusable carryout, containers can be re-used instead of being thrown away.
  • Micro-filtration— We extend the life of cooking oils through micro-filtration. By getting greater use out of these oils, we have reduced our use of cooking oil by over 50%.
  • Triple Filtered Water Purification Stations– Installed in the seating areas of both resident dining rooms, they allow guests to refill reusable water bottles for free instead of using disposable cups or purchasing single use bottled water.
  • Napkins— Relocation to dining room tables instead of the serving line resulted in a 50% reduction in usage.

Food Donation

While we strive to minimize unsold leftovers, food that cannot be effectively reused and yet is safe for consumption is donated to those in need through our partnership with the Food Recovery Network. The Food Recovery Network is a network of student groups and individuals at UMD volunteering to recover the surplus food from the dining halls and sports games and donate it to hungry men, women and children in the DC area.

Salvage and Reuse

You’ve likely heard the saying, “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure”. We agree:

  • We send excess working, used equipment and supplies to Terrapin Trader for sale or we recycle the equipment within our units.
  • Footnotes Cafe in McKeldin Library was built entirely from equipment and supplies that were repaired or modified for the space.
  • 50% of the equipment used for expansion of the Commons Shop was reclaimed from other locations.
  • Equipment that has outlived its useful life and cannot be repaired is dismantled and components are recycled.

Waste Recycling

We separate compostable and recyclable materials in order to minimize waste sent to the landfill. Watch this presentation to learn more about our compost collection in the Dining Halls.

Here are some more facts:

  • We compost food waste in four major locations: the Diner, South Campus Dining Room, 251 North, and at the Student Union. The average monthly food waste that was composted increased from 10 tons (2006) to 36 tons (2011).
  • We compost food waste at large special events including Maryland Day and the SGA Crab Fest.
  • We installed pulpers to make compost more manageable. They shred and remove moisture from food scraps and compostables.
  • Compostable plates, cups and carry-out containers have replaced polystyrene foam in all residential dining rooms and most retail locations on campus.
  • We send used cooking oils to be converted to biodiesel fuel by Greenlight Biofuels.