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Sustainability Initiatives

Waste

Food Recovery

Food Recovery Network

We partner with the Alford Center for Service Learning in partnership with the national non-profit the Food Recovery Network to save leftover food from the dining halls by involving student volunteers, providing it to six local organizations to feed food insecure populations. Our program was so successful (being the first chapter in Ohio, and the first in the country to successfully use reusable containers) that the Alford Center hired a student worker, Rachel Auerbach, to manage the program, and she won a prestigious award for her leadership of the program which recovered over 10,000 lbs. of food over the 2014-2015 academic year. We even had pickups all summer long thanks to a partnership with Conference Services, saving an additional 2,300 lbs of food.

Compost

Composting bins

We partner with the grounds crew from Denison’s Physical Plant to compost kitchen scraps and acceptable consumer food waste. Compost is picked up 5 days a week from the dining halls, mixed with leaf litter and composted in wind rows behind the Physical Plant, where the grounds crew turns and tends the rows until compost is ready to be utilized at Denison’s Community garden.

Recycling/Packaging Waste

Corn on trailer

All of our boxes and containers of raw ingredients are recycled per Denison’s recycling program. We save all 3 ½-5 gallon buckets to give to our local farmer partners, and minimize packaging as much as possible through deposit and return of container programs with our farmers, saving boxes for farmers to reuse, or when possible, eliminating boxes and packaging altogether, as was the case for this massive sweet corn delivery from Bird’s Haven Farms.

To-go Ware

Going Green Store

We switched purchases of disposable to-go ware over to the local distributor the Going Green Store, working with owner Mike Bauer to make sure we were getting the most sustainable products given Denison’s recycling and composting capabilities. We also worked with Amy Hannahs in the Denison Bookstore to sell reusable water bottles and coffee mugs from the Going Green Store, putting educational signage in Slayter Convenience Store and Commit Grounds coffee shop about how many cups and bottles and how much money you’d save by going with a reusable instead of disposable option.

Clean Plate Club

Clean Plate club

We continued our work with the Green Team student group, doing a Clean Plate Club initiative in Huffman every Tuesday wherein students – led by Dining Sustainability Fellow Lindsay Kaznak{link to student initiatives page}- set up tables to do the dish return, teaching their peers both how to compost correctly, and rewarding them for having clean plates with a Clean Plate Club sticker and a chance to win weekly prizes. In this way we’re incentivizing taking only what you can eat and leaving any “waste” on the food line, where leftover food gets donated to shelters through the Food Recovery Network.

Greenies

Greenie container

We were the first school in the country to introduce the Preserve eco-clamshell containers, which our campus calls Greenies. The containers are made in the USA out of recycled materials, and are available as an option in Slayter Café as an alternative to the disposable to-go ware options.

Waste Vegetable Oil

jugsOfVeggieOil

We filter all of our fryers on campus regularly, extending the life of the fryer oil so that we can keep reusing it longer. When the oil does need to be replaced, it is picked up by one of our local farm partners, who makes it into biodiesel for use on his farm, or by our own Sustainability Manager whose car is fitted to run on straight waste vegetable oil.