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Lovely bowl of healthy food.

As part of Make Orange Green, UT’s campus-wide sustainability initiative, Vol Dining works with our office, other campus units, and dining vendors to continually develop and implement sustainable solutions for our campus. Here are just a few ways we work to make our campus more environmentally conscious.

Local Purchasing

Vol Dining sources food from many local farmers, growers, and distributors to stimulate the local economy and reduce our carbon footprint. The list changes throughout the year depending on seasonality and availability.

Map showing local origins of food.

Recycling iconRecycling

Vol Dining has recycling bins for paper, plastic, aluminum, cardboard, and steel products in all campus dining locations this year depending on seasonality and availability.

Compost iconComposting

More than 15,000 lbs of food waste and coffee grounds are collected from dining locations each week, including coffee grounds and pre-consumer food waste at all large campus dining locations. Post-consumer food waste is collected in the kitchens at several other locations, including Rocky Top Dining and Fresh Food Company at Stokely.

Plates and utensils used at orientation events are compostable, making the lunches zero waste events.

The Mug Project graphicThe Mug Project

UT students, faculty, and staff can bring their own mug of twenty-four ounces or less and receive a discount on drip coffee and fountain beverages. More than 90 percent of Volunteer Dining locations are participating, including Starbucks, Einstein’s, Quiznos, and Subway.

Water iconTrayless Dining

Dining trayless minimizes food waste, conserves energy and water, and reduces the amount of cleaning chemicals entering the waste stream. During the Destination Imagination event each summer, serving 72,800 trayless meals has saved 109,200 gallons of water.

Electricity iconFood Donation

Through a partnership with UT Recycling, Volunteer Dining donates left over food from orientation to the Food Recovery Network.

Recycling iconReusable Condiment Containers

Reusing and restocking condiment containers at all our dining locations saves one metric cube of landfill space per week—about the size of a refrigerator.

Solar energy iconReusable Dishware

Vol Dining diverts 23,000 pounds of waste from the landfill each year by providing reusable dishware and eliminating Styrofoam from use on campus.*

*With the exception of Chick-fil-A

Natural gas iconFryer Oil Recycling

100 percent of used fryer oil is recycled. Approximately 5,000 gallons is collected per year and taken to be converted to biodiesel. Some of this biodiesel is used at our very own Compost Facility!

Wind energy iconTennant Floor Scrubbers

Electrically converted water technology for floor cleaning eliminates the environmental impact of producing, packaging, transporting, using, and disposing of traditional cleaning chemicals. Ec-h30 begins and ends as water and uses 70 percent less water than conventional scrubbing methods.

Water iconHydration Stations

Vol Dining offers several hydration stations throughout campus. Use these free, filtered water stations to refill your reusable bottle and prevent single-use plastic bottles from entering the landfill. Since 2012, the campus community has diverted more than 2 million plastic bottles from the landfill, thanks to these hydration stations.

Compost iconGreen Cleaning

All dining locations are committed to using daily green cleaning products to reduce the need for chemical based cleaning products and provide a healthy and safe environment.

Recycling iconRecycled Content Paper

Vol Dining uses recycled-content office and copy paper in many dining locations on campus.

Electricity iconEnergy-Efficient Lighting

Energy-conserving light bulbs are installed in all campus dining locations, and lights and computers are turned off when not in use by employees.

Water iconEnergy & Water Conservation

Vol Dining trains their employees each semester on common energy and water conservation practices in order to conserve precious natural resources.

Solar energy iconFair Trade Coffee

Fair trade coffee is available on campus through two brands, Starbucks and Java City.

Compost iconBleach-Free Napkins

All dining locations use bleach free, 100-percent-content recycled napkins.