We work together to continually develop and implement sustainable solutions. Through Green Thread, our environmental sustainability platform, we bring innovative and efficient solutions to life. We are passionately focused on reducing the environmental impact within our operations.
Here are just a few ways we work to make our campus more environmentally conscious:
Gator Dining has a full-time dedicated Sustainability Manager that works on initiatives to reduce the carbon footprint of dining at the University of Florida.
Fresh from Florida
Gator Dining prioritizes the purchasing of food from Florida farmers and businesses across the state of Florida. Look for Fresh from Florida tags around the dining halls to find meals made with Fresh from Florida items. Some examples include:
- — All beef served in the dining halls from Florida Cattle Rancher
- — Bacon from the University of Florida Meat Processing Center
- — Sausage from Nettles Sausage Co.
- — Romaine Lettuce from Traders Hill Farm
- — Oranges from Florida Classic Growers
- LEARN MORE
Gator Dining has partnered with the Field and Fork Campus Food Program and LA Urban Farms to fit the greatest possible amount of beauty into the built environment. Each residential dining hall has an aeroponic tower that is growing produce to donate to the University of Florida’s Hitchcock Field and Fork Pantry to be shared with anyone in need in the UF community. LEARN MORE
Organic & Locally-Roasted Coffee
Gator Dining sources coffee from Sweetwater Organic Coffee Co., a local Gainesville coffee roaster, at both residential dining halls. Sweetwater Coffee is deeply committed to fair, direct, and transparent trading relationships with small-scale coffee farmers and their cooperatives throughout the world’s coffee lands. They roast all of their coffee to-order in micro-batches and their coffee is certified USDA organic, high altitude and shade-grown, and specialty-grade Arabica. LEARN MORE
Gators BEAT Waste Station
Gator Dining partners with the University of Florida Business Services, Business Affairs, Office of Sustainability, Reitz Union, and PepsiCo to launch the customer-facing waste station in the Reitz Union Food Court. The station offers the first post-consumer, customer-facing compost bin in the Reitz Union. The station also offers educational messaging and volunteer opportunities. LEARN MORE
Over 35 Gator Dining locations compost pre-consumer food waste including but not limited to:
– Gator Corner Dining Center
– Reitz Union Food Court
– Fresh Food Company
– The Hub locations
Six of our seven Starbucks locations also participate in a composting program with the University of Florida Field and Fork Gardens. Starbucks locations provide coffee grounds, filters, and tea bags that the gardens then compost and use as a soil amendment.
Styrofoam & Plastic Bag Free
Gator Dining locations have been styrofoam free since 2011 and plastic bag free since 2013.
Green to Go Boxes
Gator Corner Dining Center and Fresh Food Company offer Green to Go reusable containers for students and staff to carry out meals, while also reducing single-use plastic waste.
Reusable to-go boxes are available for purchase in residential dining halls for a one-time cost of $4.00. Boxes can be used to take food to-go from UF residential dining locations. Customers can then return boxes after emptying any food waste and swap it out for a clean one.
Sip Smarter: Skip the Straw
As of January 2019, all Gator Dining locations have converted to compostable straws. This switch aligns with our continued push to reduce single-use plastics. The best practice is to skip the straw altogether when possible.
BYOM Coffee Discount
Gator Dining offers a $0.25 coffee discount at select retail locations including all on-campus Starbucks, Au Bon Pain, P.O.D.Markets, Chomp & Go, and Rising Roll when customers bring their own mug. The mug can be any color, size, or brand. This discount aligns with our goal to reduce single-use plastic.
Gator Dining has operated Leanpath 360 machines at each dining hall and our catering kitchen since 2017. These machines weigh, capture images, and categorize pre-consumer food waste prepared in our kitchens. The data is reviewed by the sustainability manager and used to create changes that could help prevent food waste.