Stanford University's dining program becomes a certified Green Business using wide-variety of environmental practices

In August 2004, Santa Clara County awarded Stanford Dining, a division of Residential & Dining Enterprises (R&DE), the distinction of being certified a Green Business. This certification is the first to encompass an entire university dining services department including Stanford Dining's 9 residential dining halls, 10 retail campus cafes, catering services, concessions and Schwab Executive Services.

In partnership with Stanford Dining, Grounds Services and the Fleet Garage, Stanford University became the first university campus to be wholly recognized with a Green Business Certification. Santa Clara County acknowledged that Stanford Dining's efforts in conservation, recycling and waste reduction were instrumental in the University's receipt of this designation.

Green Business is a San Francisco Bay Area program spanning seven counties and dedicated to the successful partnership of environmental agencies with local business and government organizations. In order to be Green Business certified, organizations must comply with all regulations set by the program including stringent standards for water and energy conservation, pollution prevention, solid waste reduction and recycling.

"We are thrilled to play a role in moving our campus and community toward better protection of our shared environment. We have been enthusiastically and actively committed to preserving the Bay Area's vast natural resources for years and thank the university for their support in the development of a sustainable program," remarked Rafi Taherian, executive director for Stanford Dining.

Stanford Dining has been employing an extensive list of environmentally-conscious practices including:

  • Regularly replacing older equipment with cutting edge, environmentally friendly products including water-conserving dishwashers, energy-efficient refrigeration units and infrared fryers.
  • Aggressively implementing new design solutions with each facility renovation that maximize natural light and airflow while reducing electricity usage.
  • Launching its department-wide composting program at our award-winning Marketplace at Wilbur in 2001 during our facility renovation which featured a station in the back of the house specifically for food waste separation.
  • Rolling out its composting program to all facilities in 2003.
  • Enthusiastically developing and conducting an extensive composting program in partnership with Stanford University's sanitation provider, PSSI. Food waste from every dining hall is separated, processed and the resulting fertilizer is delivered to local farmers as well as used on campus for Stanford Dining's organic herb gardens.
  • Continually purchasing environmentally friendly, biodegradable chemicals.
  • Actively reducing the availability and use of disposable products. When disposables are necessary, Stanford Dining purchases recyclable products and products made from recycled materials.
  • Offering coffee discounts to customers who bring their own non-disposable mugs.

In addition to its environmentally friendly operational practices, Stanford Dining recognizes the importance of consistently advocating the issues of environmental protection and responsibility. Stanford Dining's Go Green program focuses students' attention on a wide range of environmental concerns including water conservation, food waste and the importance of utilizing reusable china instead of disposable products. Continuously evolving communications reach students through table tents, posters in high traffic areas of the dining halls and through Stanford Dining's Web site.

Stanford Dining serves over 15,000 meals daily to over 26,000 students, faculty, staff and guests in 36 dining rooms on campus. Stanford Dining operates continually expanding and evolving retail, catering, campus vending, athletic concessions and executive service operations for Stanford University.

This article originally appeared in the 04/01/2005 issue of Environmental Protection.

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