SUSTAINABILITY | Local Vendors | Sustainable Food |
Reusable To Go Containers | Meatless Mondays | Get Involved

Gator Dining Services, the university’s official dining services provider, has made
strides towards ensuring a more sustainable dining operation on our campus. From
the purchasing of local produce, to fostering more partnerships with local businesses,
to evaluating ways to cut down on energy and water usage, campus dining is becoming
greener everyday.

Check out some of our sustainablility efforts below.


Waste Reduction

Student Testimonial: “I have to say how proud I am at the initiatives that you took
for Earth Day. Not only the trays being taken away, but also the education was just
amazing. Everyone seemed to do just fine without trays and it can help save food
waste and water. That makes me proud to go to the University of Florida.” – Alex
Klein, UF Student

Implemented trayless dining at Fresh Food Company and Gator Corner
Dining Center

By removing the trays from our dining halls, in one year we will prevent 60,000 lbs. of
uneaten food from being thrown away and 470,000 gallons of water from being used.

Reusable cups

Distributing used coffee grounds throughout the community for reuse in farming and composting.
These can help replace the use of chemical-intensive fertilizers.

Compostable to-go containers, bowls, plates & cups
available at all locations.

These products are made from renewable resources instead
of petroleum-based plastics or Styrofoam.

Reusable to-go container program at campus dining halls

Coffee grounds reuse program

Distributing used coffee
grounds throughout the campus & community for reuse in farming, composting,
and landscaping. These can help replace the use of chemical-intensive fertilizers.

Waste diversion data collected daily throughout campus dining locations

Providing a host kitchen to the Campus Kitchens Project

Dining has partnered with the Campus Kitchens Project – a hunger relief organization
that takes unserved food from local food service providers and creates individually-packaged,
nutritious meals to be delivered to social service agencies.

Over 2,200 meals have been served to our local community.

Robust recycling program

Recycling all cardboard, paper,
plastic, aluminum/metal, and glass.

Recycling approximately 154 tons of comingled materials (plastic, glass, aluminum)
and 215 tons of cardboard and paper each year

Recycle cooking oil at all campus dining locations

Partnership with UF Office of Sustainability

Terracycle bins at all convenience stores on campus which upcycle typically non-recyclable
snack packaging and personal care products. Visit
to learn about UF’s Terracycle brigades.

Energy & Water


Energy Star® procurement policy in place for all new dining
& office appliance purchases

Energy Star® products meet strict energy efficiency
guidelines set by the EPA and US Department of Energy (

Conservation training for all new employees

As part of
new hire training, all employees now go through sustainability training which includes
education on water and energy conservation at home and on the job.

Energy and water conservation program in place campus-wide.


Responsible Procurement


Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance & USDA Certified Organic
coffees offered campus-wide

Starbucks, Java City & Sweetwater Organic Coffee
Roasters all offer sustainable coffee choices.

Styrofoam-free packaging in all campus dining locations

an estimated 1.2 million units of foam prouducts from landfills.

Source compostable and recyclable catering to-go boxes that are unbleached
and printed with soy based inks.

Local/regional produce sourced for two dining halls

Purchasing local
produce has many benefits including supporting local farming; cutting down on the
miles food has to travel (thereby reducing fuel use and pollution); ensuring a safe,
stable, local food supply; ensuring a fresher product; and eating in conjunction
with the seasons. Learn more here.
Look for the “Locally Grown” tags in our dining halls to identify these items.

Did you know most produce travels an average of 1,500 miles before being sold?

Organic grocery & snack options

Visit our convenience
stores for a variety of healthy choices. Look for the natural and organic signs.

Using eco-friendly cleaning supplies

These Green Seal
certified products protect the health of our workers, customers, & the environment.

Responsible sourcing of disposable items

These include
compostable materials as well as post-consumer recycled content products.

Plastic bag free throughout all campus dining locations.

Education & Engagement

Sustainability Training

All of our hourly employees go
through training on a variety of sustainability and environmental stewardship topics
including recycling, reponsible purchasing, sustainable food, transportation, and
energy and water conservation. Our goal is to reflect on ways to make sustainability
a part of our daily work and personal lives.

Participant in RecycleMania – a nationwide college recycling competition

Monthly Sustainability events at on campus dining centers

Participate in Inter-Residence Hall Association’s Annual Eco-Challenge

Screens at campus dining locations display weekly Meatless Monday options
and list of available local produce

Hosted an annual Iron Chef-style competition at Fresh
Food Company among our employees using all local and regional products (Earth Day,
2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011)

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Health & Nutrition


Social Equity



Additional Info

Alligator – Greening Dining Article  The Independent Florida
Alligator (January 2008)

Office of Sustainability E-Newsletter  (January 2008)

Reusable Mug Article  Gainesville Sun (February 2008)

College Services Magazine (PDF format)  (April 2008)

Trayless Dining  - USA Today (July 2008)

Trayless Dining  - The Independent Florida Alligator (July 2008)

“Erase the Waste” Campaign  - Gainesville Sun (October 2008)

“Erase the Waste” Campaign - (October 2008)

“Erase the Waste” Campaign  -The Independent Florida Alligator
(October 2008)

Trayless Dining  - Gainesville Sun (October 2008)

Reusable To Go Program  (January 2009)

Gator Dining Green Team (January 2010)

Campus Dining Locations adopt Meatless Monday  -The Independent
Florida Alligator (November 2010)

Foam packaging removed from campus dining program  -The Independent
Florida Alligator (December 2011)

Gators Go Foam Free  - On-Campus Hospitality Magazine (March

BURGERevolution sustainable dining party  - The Independent
Florida Alligator (March 2012)

Students Plan Herbs for Use in Campus Dining Centers  - The
Independent Florida Alligator (September 2012)




Fresh Food Challenge – April 2007, Video (plug-in required)

Local Foods Cook-Off – Earth Day 2008, Video