Our Sustainable Dining Initiatives
Winner, 2021 Campus Sustainability Achievement Award
Brandeis was named the winner of the 2021 Campus Sustainability Achievement Award by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education for our innovative sustainable dining program.
Measuring Sustainable Dining
Brandeis has eight sustainability metrics in our Dining Services program. You can check out our progress in our dashboard below.
1. Reduce the carbon footprint of our food
Brandeis has joined the Cool Food Pledge, committing to reducing our footprint by 25% by 2030. The Office of Sustainability is tracking all of Brandeis Dining Services’ food purchases, using the Cool Food Calculator to analyze its impacts. We also use the calculator to estimate what type of changes are necessary to achieve an annual reduction in carbon footprint.
2. Increase the ratio of plant-based to animal-based protein in menus. Moving toward more plant-based diets has long been recognized as an essential approach for reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.
3. Increase our purchases of food produced, not just processed, in New England by 2% per year. In A New England Food Vision, the authors, led by Brandeis professor Brian Donahue, call for “50 by 60”, the capacity for New England to produce at least 50% of our food by 2060 while supporting healthy food for all, sustainable farming and fishing, and thriving communities.
4. Increase our purchases of foods with sustainable attributes by 2% per year. Sustainable foods can be defined by a number of measures, none of which on their own necessarily indicate an achievement of an ideal. However, Brandeis recognizes the merits of several programs in place to improve the global food system, including but not limited to Certified Humane, Cage Free, Certified Fair Trade, Certified Organic, MSC Certified, non-GMO, Seafood Watch Best Choice or Good Alternative, fish sourced from Red's Best, and foods that are part of the Future 50 foods program. We will revise this list on a continuous basis.
5. Reduce our purchases of single-use disposable items. For example, Brandeis Dining Services has stopped offering plastic bags in the Stein, our campus convenience stores, and in our dining halls. Any food taken to go from our dining halls can only be taken in one of our reusable containers, and straws are offered only on request from our retail locations. Brandeis Dining Services stopped handing out packets of three disposable utensils by default, and instead diners take utensils if needed from touchless single-utensil dispensers in Lower Usdan and Sherman. Brandeis Dining Services has also developed a feature in the Bite app to opt-out or opt-in to receiving utensils when anyone orders in the app.
6. Reduce the amount of total waste (including trash, recycling and compost) created, including food waste. To reduce food waste, Brandeis Dining Services has introduced a food waste reduction tool in Brandeis’ kitchens called Leanpath. Leanpath integrates digital scales and tracking software to help our chefs and food service staff measure food as it is being prepared. This helps to prevent preparing too much food and also tracks how much was left after meals.
7. Divert a minimum of 20% of waste created in Sherman and Usdan to recycling and 30% to compost, for a minimum of 50% total diversion. The Office of Sustainability tracks the amount of trash, recycling and compost collected at our dining halls, and regularly reports back to Brandeis Dining Services.
8. Eliminate contamination of recycling. When our recycling compactors are contaminated, the entire contents of the compactor will be sent to trash. Brandeis Dining staff are instructed to keep food and other non-recyclables out of the compactors to help ensure what is recyclable does get recycled.
Interactive dining sustainability dashboard
View our interactive dining sustainability dashboard below or view the accessible data.