Eat Drink Talk THINK!!!
Boston College Dining Services places a high priority on sustainability and has made great strides to integrate sustainable efforts of local vendors, manufacturers and products into the department and university systems.
Boston College Dining Services fosters a culture in which the interwoven benefits of growing, cooking and sharing food become an integral part of the university’s community experience. The College fosters working relationships with local growers, manufacturers and vendors who respect and promote ecologically sensitive agricultural practices, and food distributors who can trace their products to responsible sources.
The Dining Services team is committed to continuing a business strategy based on high-quality food and service that focuses on the principles of long term sustainable development that tie into our strong community support and respect for quality of life.
Recycling services exist for glass, plastic, metal, cardboard, grease, mixed paper, as well as ink and toner cartridges. Here is what the dining halls have been doing to ensure efficient use of products and material:
- To decrease volume and the number of required vendor pickups, metal cans are crushed in kitchens.
- Double insulated, sealed grease tanks were installed in all dining locations to prevent spillage during storage and extraction.
- Cooking oils are filtered a minimum of once per day to extend the life of oils used.
- Oil market conditions are regularly analyzed to ensure the best oil is purchased with the longest fry life and health benefits. We have for the past nine years used Zero Trans-Fat Canola oil for cooking and frying because of the health benefits, well ahead of the industry.
- Collaborative relationships have been developed with national and local manufacturers to discuss and encourage practices that benefit the sustainable initiatives of the food service industry to produce products and utilize processes with the least impact on the environment.
Dining Services also considers its energy impact, and has taken the following steps to reduce water and energy consumption:
- Dining Services continually researches energy and water efficient technologies when replacing foodservice equipment and purchase Energy Star or equivalent rated replacement equipment.
- Dining Services has replaced two dish machines in the past year, cutting water consumption by 50 percent. The equipment is manufactured and serviced by a local vendor.
- Run dish machines during peak hours only, to conserve utilities and cleaning products.
- Vendors are required to shut off engines during deliveries to decrease gas emissions and noise levels.
- Vending machine lights turned off to save energy.
Dining Services makes certain only the best, most sustainable materials are purchased and used during food processing:
- Dining Services incorporates sustainable criteria in RFB’s (Request for Bid) for vendor analysis and selection.
- Emphasis is placed on local distributors and decreased deliveries to decrease fuel emissions.
- Vendor food orders are consolidated as much as possible to decrease the carbon footprint.
- Dining Services has a database of vendor and manufacturer sustainable practices, policies and initiatives.
- Dining Services has been working with students to develop a more sustainable food system on campus as part of "Read Food BC". See the Student Initiatives Page for more information.
- We partner with local manufacturers to develop programs that allocate rebates to support socially and environmentally responsible community projects and programs.
- Dining Services is happy to list a few local distributors who have had an impact on Boston College and the products that are proudly served to our community:
Sid Wainer & Sons,
New Bedford, MA
- Second generation family run business known worldwide for their leadership in food safety, support of local farmers and research for methods to develop new seeds for produce growth year round in the Northeast climate of products not previously know to be able to survive the climate changes.
Costa Fruit & Produce,
- Second generation family run business. In an effort to become a more environmentally conscious company, Costa Fruit & Produce has developed an internal program called "Greening Our Goods and Services." The program has been in place for many years and continues to evolve as our company grows.
- As a specialist and leader in the produce industry, Costa has supported local farmers and the utilization of sustainable and organic farming methods for more than fifty years. In fact, to help growers run their farms more efficiently, Costa instituted a seven day net payment program for all produce and agricultural products grown or produced in New England by independent farmers and producers.
- Dining Services partnered with Costa Fruit & Produce this past fall with the introduction of the “Farmer’s Market” that featured only local farm produce for five consecutive weeks in September to the beginning of October.
Pineland Wolfe’s Neck Farm,
New Glouster, ME
- Wolfe’s Neck Farm has raised natural beef on 600 acres of saltwater farmland for more than half a century. Naturally raised beef is produced by family farms that are committed to sustainable agriculture. Cattle are raised naturally with no added growth hormones, raised without antibiotics, never fed animal by-products, fed a purely vegetarian diet, are USDA inspected and graded 85 percent Choice or higher.
- All natural Wolfe’s Neck hamburgers were introduced this fall, 2007 at Hillside Café at dinner time.
North Coast Seafood,
- Family operated business in a “state of the art” facility where products are tested in their “in-house” microbiological laboratory before being processed into fillets, steaks, loins or portions. All shellfish is placed into a wet storage tank that will eliminate any harmful bacteria that may exist. The water quality in the tanks is monitored constantly to ensure the quality exceeds the requirements of approved shellfish harvesting areas which also increases the shelf life of their shellfish. Seawater for these tanks is obtained from Chatham, MA.
- North Coast Seafood partners with their customers to support sustainable seafood and practices as outlined by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Sea Watch program. This ensures that the species of fish purchased have been fished or farmed in environmentally friendly ways. Dining Services selections are made from the “Best Choices” and “Good Alternatives” list to support aquaculture sustainability.
Lastly, Dining Services ensures quality and sustainability in the Dining Halls through recycling, reduced use of plastics, composting and more:
- Integrated Dining Hall Operations and Academic Pursuits – Opportunities to support student sustainability initiatives through open communications with student and university groups to raise awareness about food waste and advance the reduction of food and solid waste in dining halls.
- Associate Director of Operations working with Ecopledge and Law Student Association (Please see our Student Initiatives Page for further information) to promote an awareness program of Dining Services recycling and sustainable initiatives with visual marketing aides.
- Concentrated revitalization of the beverage refill program at Stuart Hall beginning October 2007; by November a 28 percent increase of refillable sales was evident. The program is to be extended to other restaurant operations soon.
- November 2007 an awareness program to highlight the amount of plastic used at Stuart Hall and initiate a student sorting program was established and communicated with table tents and face to face contact. Goals were established to decrease the plastic usage with special rewards as a celebration. In a three-week period they saw a 9 percent decrease in usage of all plastic “to go” items. McElroy will go online with a similar program January 2008.
- Table tents at Corcoran Commons November 2007 state the facts with projections how each individual can have an impact to improve the environment by decreasing waste and increase recycling with simple behavior changes.
- Introduced a composting program at Corcoran Commons, Hillside Café and Stuart Hall fall 2007.
- Purchased can crushers to decrease the volume of metal to be recycled.
- Serve Certified Fair Trade and Fairly Traded coffee exclusively at all restaurants; varieties include organic shade-grown from Starbucks, Peet’s and New England Coffee.
- Serve 100 percent rBST-hormone free milk from a local dairy processor who contracts with local dairy farmers within the New England region.
- Develop seasonal menus and food procurement guidelines that prioritize seasonal variation of local and regional agricultural production.
- Expanded vegetarian options to please the vegetarian palate.
- Introduced All-Natural Burgers from Wolfe’s Neck Farm, ME at Hillside Café fall 2007.
- Farmer’s Markets on Corcoran Commons Plaza Thursdays in early September into October 2007 showcased local produce and was such a success we will continue to build on the program.
- Food safety is our top priority so we therefore utilize an outside laboratory several times a year for full restaurant/kitchen sanitation inspections and random food sample analysis. This is not a requirement, but rather an enhancement of the local health department inspections.
- First quarter 2008 represented a 30% reduction in the use of warewashing chemicals from previous year. Significant reduction representative of the replacement of energy efficient dish machine at McElroy and dish and pot machine at Corcoran.
- fall 2008 installed new vending machines to sell bottled Dasani water. this allows us to offer water at a lesser price while being environmentally conscious as well.
- Filtered water spigots installed in all units for customer use.
- Collaborated with UGBC to promote new "Conscious Consumer" refillable water bottle. Discounted program for all fountain beverages and coffee now available for those that use a clean, refillable bottle or mug instead of a paper cup.
- Styrofoam plates were removed from Hillside Cafe and replaced with compostable plates and the cutlery was replaced with bio-degradable options. Also removed ketchup and mustard pc's and replaced with a bulk product.
- Corcoran 2nd floor transitioned to the new Loft @ Addies. this concept was requested by Real Food BC to promote local and sustainable menu options. A menu of flatbread pizza, salad greens, Bell & Evans chicken, Kettle Cuisine soup, North End sodas and our bakery cupcakes was successful from day one.
- The Loft @ Addies now offers a choice of china for those customers staying or the new compostable plates and biodegradable cutlery for those that are to go.
- To help reduce plastic container use in the dining halls, we purchased large black bowls for use in the salad bar and pasta stations.
- Reusable shopping bags were given out at our Farmers Market this year so our customers could avoid using plastic bags.
Corcoran Commons customers currently use 12 cases of large plastic "to go" containers per day. The weight in plastic works out to:
1 Day: 240 lbs, 3000 containers
While you are here getting your BC Degree:
Which equals 88 Honda Civics in waste weight!
What is currently recycled at Corcoran Commons:
1 Day: 800 lbs Compost
600 lbs Cardboard Recycled
While you are here getting your BC Degree:
806,400 lbs Compost
604,800 lbs Cardboard Recycled
7,000 paper coffee cups are used in one week at BC Dining Facilities. Purchasing or using a reusable coffee mug would greatly reduce this amount.