Category Archives: Foam Free VT

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It’s You, Not Us

Announcing the start of a long term relationship with compostable to-go containers!

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Starting January 2015, Dining Services will be replacing select foam to-go containers with compostable to-go containers.

What should you expect from this transition?

  • All meals currently served in 9×9 single and triple compartment and 6×6 foam containers will be switched to compostable containers. Note: National brands will not be impacted by this transition.
  • The compostable to-go containers are made out of Bagasse which is a byproduct from the process of refining sugar from sugarcane.
  • The crushed sugarcane stalks, which are normally disposed of by burning, are taken to a processing plant where they are converted into paperboard which is used to make these compostable containers.
  • When you’re done with your compostable to-go container, please return to any dish return or compostable bin in the dining units.

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DS Green Team Member Spotlight: Josh Pike

The Dining Services Green Team is a new initiative on campus that is promoting current sustainable dining projects.  Turner Place has unique waste stations that allow for composting, recycling and landfill-ing.  During peak lunch hours (11 -2), Dining Services Green Team Members guide their peers through the process of properly sorting their waste.

You, too, can be a part of the Dining Services Green Team! 

Dining Services Green Team Member Spotlight: Josh Pike

Major:  Marketing Management and HR Management

Year:  Senior

Hometown:  Madison, Virginia

Favorite Food:  Pork BBQ

Favorite Place to eat on campus: West End Market

How did you hear about the Dining Services Green Team:  I heard about the Green Team from the Facebook page for The Dining Services at Kentland Farm Volunteer Program.

Favorite part of the Dining Services Green team?:   My favorite part about the Green Team is seeing the transition from people just throwing away trash in whichever trash can they see first, to now seeing people actually take a few seconds to stop and separate their trash into compost, recyclables, and landfill materials.  This is a rewarding experience because it makes you feel that people actually care about improving the environment.

Join the Dining Services Green Team!

Join the Virginia Tech Dining Services Green Team and help educate our community about Sustainable Dining Initiatives at Virginia Tech.

The DS Green Team is a great way for you to get involved in Sustainable Dining Initiatives on campus.  Dining Services Green Team members will have their hands on the pulse of Sustainability in Dining Services.  Work with Dining Services’ Sustainability Coordinator to get rid of  Styrofoam to go containers on campus!  Work with Dining Services staff members to educate customers about sustainable habits.  Encourage further local food sourcing and engage with the Dining Services Garden at Kentland Farm!

Project Waste Station starts Monday 11/12.  Sign up for a  shift HERE!

The Waste Stations at Turner Place have the capacity to accept compostables, recyclables and landfill- ables.  Green Team members will be stationed during lunch hours (11-2) at Turner Place. Sign up for a shift HERE.

How it Works:

  1. Sign up for a Green Team Member Shift at Turner Place.  Shifts will last one hour.  We are asking that you sign up for shifts that you can attend on a weekly basis.  If you can’t make that weekly commitment, just note that in the survey.  Shifts start the week of 11/12 and will run until 12/12 (excluding Thanksgiving Break).  You are more than welcome to sign up for MORE than one shift per week!!
  2. Keep an eye out for an email from the Dining Services Sustainability Coordinator about specifics for your shift.Green Team Members are asked to wear a DS Green Team Button during their shifts.  Info about where/ when to pick these up will be sent in this email.
  3. Report to Turner Place for your first shift.  Wear you Dining Services Green Team Button.
  4. Volunteer for at least 5 DS Green Team shifts before Winter Break and you will receive a FREE Reusable Bottle from Dining Services.

Questions?  Please contact the Dining Services Sustainability Coordinator, Rial Tombes at rmtombes@vt.edu.

Join the Dining Services Green Team!

Join the Virginia Tech Dining Services Green Team and help educate our community about Sustainable Dining Initiatives at Virginia Tech.

The DS Green Team is a great way for you to get involved in Sustainable Dining Initiatives on campus.  Dining Services Green Team members will have their hands on the pulse of Sustainability in Dining Services.  Work with Dining Services’ Sustainability Coordinator to get rid of  Styrofoam to go containers on campus!  Work with Dining Services staff members to educate customers about sustainable habits.  Encourage further local food sourcing and engage with the Dining Services Garden at Kentland Farm!

Project Waste Station starts Monday 11/12.  Sign up for a weekly shift HERE!

The Waste Stations at Turner Place have the capacity to accept compostables, recyclables and landfill- ables.  Green Team members will be stationed during lunch hours (11-2) at Turner Place. Sign up for a shift HERE.

How it Works:

  1. Sign up for a Green Team Member Shift at Turner Place.  Shifts will last one hour.  We are asking that you sign up for shifts that you can attend on a weekly basis.  If you can’t make that weekly commitment, just note that in the survey.  Shifts start the week of 11/12 and will run until 12/12 (excluding Thanksgiving Break).  You are more than welcome to sign up for MORE than one shift per week!!
  2. Keep an eye out for an email from the Dining Services Sustainability Coordinator about specifics for your shift.Green Team Members are asked to wear a DS Green Team Button during their shifts.  Info about where/ when to pick these up will be sent in this email.
  3. Report to Turner Place for your first shift.  Wear you Dining Services Green Team Button.
  4. Volunteer for at least 5 DS Green Team shifts before Winter Break and you will receive a FREE Reusable Bottle from Dining Services.

Questions?  Please contact the Dining Services Sustainability Coordinator, Rial Tombes at rmtombes@vt.edu.

Composting + You

According to the Virginia Tech Climate Action Commitment & Sustainability Plan, VT Dining Services is dedicated to becoming zero waste by the years 2026- 2050.  Now, that seems like a long ways away, but it really isn’t.

 

Compost Carts at Southgate

 

Virginia Tech Dining Services started composting in January 2009 at our Southgate Food Preparation facility.  Since then, all of our Dining Centers have come on board with composting including Turner Place!  In Turner Place we have added an additional layer to our composting project:  YOU!

You all have the chance to help sort your waste into three different compartments: organic waste/ compostables, commingled recycling, and trash.  Now what does that mean?

Organic Waste/ Compostables: This includes all fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, leftover foods including meat and dairy scraps, napkins, wax paper liners, and cardboard cups.    Here’s an Organic Waste/ Compostable Receptacle located outside of Turner Place.

Commingled Recylables:  Virginia Tech collects all plastic containers numbered 1 -7 (no styrofoam) as well as aluminum cans, steel cans and glass (any color).

Trash: Everything else.  Trash includes styrofoam, all non recyclable plastics like plastic bags or ketchup packets.

Turner Place has several waste stations with options for organic waste/ compostables, commingled recycling and trash.  Here’s a picture of a waste station in Bruegger’s Bagels. 

Next time you’re in Turner Place, look around and see how many waste stations there are inside and outside. Inform your friends what the difference between compostable, commingled and trash is and don’t let fellow Hokies sort their trash improperly!

Making a difference: student voice and sustainability

Watch this video featuring Campus Sustainability Planner, Angie De Soto, a close colleague of mine as the Sustainability Coordinator in Dining Services, as well as former colleague of mine as a student activist. Student voice is paramount to Dining Services and this university. Please contact me at greendining (at] vt [dot} edu with any questions, concerns, compliments, or fallacies. Thank you for being a voice.

Something to note: The Coalition for Campus Sustainability is no longer in existence; the students that created it have since cycled out. However, the participating organizations are still alive and well doing work toward sustainability initiatives: the Environmental Coalition (from which the VT Climate Action Commitment stemmed), Emerging Green Builders, the Sustainable Food Corps at Virginia Tech, and Young Democrats to name a few. Oxfam Virginia Tech is a similar organization to several social justice organizations that sat on the Coalition (PACE and Global Justice Alliance). Visit and get involved in these organizations and get your hands on the economic, social, and environmental sustainability initiatives.

The Green To-Go Pilot Program is here!

Do you wish there was a way to get your food to-go without foam containers?

Now there is.

Participate in the Green To-Go Pilot Program as Dining Services’ first step toward providing an alternative to traditional foam containers.

Read more about the program here, where you can also find the follow-up survey that will help Dining Services analyze next steps for the program.

Spread the word, support the program, and reduce your waste on campus!