Dining Services Scores an A on the 2010 College Sustainability Report Card.

The College Sustainability report card identifies colleges and universities that are leaders in sustainable practices and initiatives. Amherst College Dining Services is very proud of its work in the area of sustainability and is committed to moving forward with these practices in the future. 

Going Trayless in 2017

Eliminating or reducing the use of trays in dining facilities will reduce energy use, water use, and food waste, helping us meet our environmental and fiscal sustainability goals. In Fall 2016, the Green Amherst Project student group collected over 650 signatures from students requesting that Valentine become a trayless dining facility. Learn about our trayless initiative.

Recyling and Composting

  • Our campus recycling is single stream.
  • Recycling bins for paper and bottles & cans are located in the Campus Center cafe and other areas within the Campus Center.
  • Food trim and post consumer is composed. Bins for this use are located at the exit of Val.
  • We use compostable plates, cups and wares in catering and campus wide events. Look for the bright green bags and containers during these events.
Bottle and Can Recycling

Bottled Water

As part of the College’s ongoing commitment to waste reduction and environmental sustainability, Amherst College Dining Services has been significantly reducing its use of bottled water over the past few years and the environmental impacts thereof.  As the final step in that process, Amherst is eliminating the use of bottled water in the Student Dining Hall and Catering operations.

Through these waste reduction efforts, Dining Services has eliminated the use of approximately 20,000 plastic bottles each year.  Doing so will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by not burning the equivalent of 102 gallons of gasoline per year.

Did you know?

  • Ironically, it takes substantially more than one gallon of water to produce and distribute one gallon of bottled water. Millions of gallons of water are used in the plastic-making process, and for each gallon that goes into the bottles, two additional gallons are used in the purification process.
  • The  entire process of manufacturing plastic bottles and transporting them to stores requires nearly 2,000 times the energy of supplying tap water.   (Pacific Institute, 2009)
  • The entire energy costs of the life cycle of a bottle of water is equivalent, on average, to filling up a quarter of each bottle with oil.  (Pacific Institute, 2009)

Recycling Behind the Scenes

The preparation of meals on an institutional scale brings with it a significant amount of waste.  Dining Services makes every effort to recycle or otherwise minimize waste generated by its operations. Your help is greatly appreciated.

The following items are recycled via the Amherst College Recycling Program:

  • Glass bottles & jars, steel cans, aluminum cans, and plastic bottles & jugs are recycled.
  • Cardboard boxes are baled and recycled.
  • Office paper, including leftover menus are recycled.

In addition, Dining Services takes steps to manage its unique wastes:

  • Leftover unserved meals are donated to a variety of local shelters and charitable organizations.
  • Oils and grease are sent to a local rendering company to be processed.
  • Used coffee grounds are made available to employees for use in their home gardens.
  • Plastic shrink wrap is sent to our vendor for recycling.
  • Recycled paper is used in our copiers, fax machines and printers.
  • Brochures, flyers and other publications are printed on recycled paper whenever possible.
  • Most of our disposable ware (cutlery, hot cups, plates, to-go containers, etc.) is biodegradable and compostable.

In an effort to get statistical information, we have been working with The Amherst Green Project (a student group) to bring awareness and collect data about post-consumer waste in the Dining Hall. We have identified that post-consumer waste equates to approximately 13% of food served per day in the Dining Hall.

While we offer a wide array of foods to complete your meal, please take only what you’ll eat. Reducing waste can bring greater resources to your dining program!