Sustainability @ PLU Hospitality Services & Campus Restaurants
PLU recognizes the importance of sustainability, so much so that it is integrated into the University mission statement, “to educate students for lives of thoughtful inquiry, service, leadership and care – for other persons, for their communities and for the earth.” It is the responsibility of not only the students, but the faculty and staff as well, to become conscious of their effects on the environment and to help us make strides in becoming a sustainable campus community. Here in Hospitality Services & Campus Restaurants, we are doing our part as PLU moves towards the goal of becoming a carbon neutral university by 2020.
We are focusing resources towards cutting down to zero-waste through the Green Tray Program, helping students organize their waste as trash, compost or recycling. The program is helping the University Center and all of the PLU campus become a home for green dining. In addition to the Green Tray Program, Hospitality Services & Campus Restaurants is also focusing efforts towards organic purchasing decisions for products such as eggs milk as well as specific meats such as chicken and beef.
We are continually finding new ways to improve our sustainability efforts. The main area we focus on are:
Minimizing our Environmental Impact
- Composting & reducing the amount of waste we send to the landfill. Through prudence, determination and research, we have reduced the waste sent to the landfill by an astounding 68.62%.
We compost all food waste, paper cups, straws, napkins, sugar packets, basket liners, paper cartons, wood stir sticks, tea bags and wrappers.
- Recycling plastic packaging & wrappers, tin/aluminum cans and foil, mixed paper, and corrugated cardboard.
- Choosing disposable containers that are made with post-consumer waste and that are compostable/recyclable: to-go packaging in The Commons, Aardvark paper drinking straws, chopsticks sourced from renewable bamboo.
- Bottled water is not sold in any of our campus restaurants as a result of the student-run initiative in 2011.
- We don’t just throw away the used fryer oil, in the effort to reduce our carbon footprint we sell it to SeQuential Pacific Biodiesel. They create renewable biodiesel fuel, a clean fuel source derived from vegetable oil, animal fats, waste vegetable oil, and microalgae oil.
- Currently we donate some leftover foods to: Parkland Food Bank, Tacoma Rescue Mission, Tacoma Food Bank, and Trinity Lutheran Church.
- Paper Towels — in our Campus Restaurants are made from 100% recycled fiber, 90% post-consumer fibers, using a 100% process chlorine free offering environmental benefits, a positive image builder and is compostable. ECOLOGO® and Green Seal™ Certified. They are Compostable Verified.
- Napkins — Earth Plus paper products deliver high performance and convey environmental concern. • 100% Recycled • Unbleached • Meets EPA Guidelines for Post-Consumer Material http://www.torkusa.com/product/d786e/refill/napkins_tableware
Local, Natural and Organic
We are committed to purchasing and operational practices and menu choices that sustain the health and well-being of the environment, communities, and the people producing and eating food. Our sustainability and production managers work closely with vendors to source local, all-natural and organic products.
- Dillanos Coffee Roasters is a family owned specialty coffee roaster located in Sumner, Washington — they provide campus with Fair Trade Certified coffee.
- Smith Brothers Farms in the Kent Valley or Darigold — All of the milk used in The Commons is rBGH free and produced locally.
- Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch — We purchase our seafood in accordance with these guidelines for sustainability.
Some of our fish purchases come from Jones Family Farms (JFF), located on Lopez Island, WA
- Shepherd’s Grain flour, which is milled in Spokane from sustainably-grown wheat on farms in the northeastern plateau of our state.
- Grand Central Bakery in Seattle — Paninis made for OMM are on their bread, along with many catering and kitchen breads.
- Marsee Bakery in Seattle — (muffins, scones, cookies and croissants) are produced using Shepherd’s Grain flour.
- Franz Bakery in Seattle — provides much of the bread at Good Things
- Bagel Boyz in Tacoma — provide sandwiches and bagels in OMM
- Blazing Bagels in Seattle — also provide bagels for OMM and Good Things in The Commons
- Flying Apron in Seattle — supplies vegan, gluten free goodies in Old Main Market
- Kettle Chips, a local company located in Salem, OR. They produce all-natural products, using nothing artificial, non-GMO ingredients all natural colors & flavors.
- Hillside Quickie, right here in Tacoma — Supplies the vegan sandwiches in Old Main Market
- Meritage Soups — a local company produces the OMM soups and many in The Commons
- Heritage Soups — a local company produces many soups in The Commons
- Charlie’s Produce, a local employee-owned company — Charlie’s has been buying local produce for 25 years. They have 15 conventional growers in the Puyallup/Kent/Mt. Vernon area they draw upon for local produce. They also work with 24 growers in Eastern Washington, plus numerous packing sheds.
- Tahoma Farms, a certified organic “first generation” family farm in Orting, WA.
- Along with trans-fat free oil in the fryers, heart-healthy olive and canola oils are used in everyday cooking. We also utilize specialty oils like sesame oil for many of our cultural dishes.
- Organic breads and rolls for sandwiches are provided by the Essential Baking Company, located in Seattle.
- Meat Free Monday is a student-driven idea and is fully supported by Hospitality Services & Campus Restaurants. We provide meat free choices in The Commons on Monday so everyone has the chance to take and uphold the pledge.