Tag Archives: Compost

Volunteer for the Hokie Hi Picnic!

Volunteer with us this coming Sunday 8/23. Spend your Sunday afternoon in Lane Stadium welcoming incoming freshmen and promoting sustainability on campus!

There are two shifts available on Sunday, set up and clean up, respectively.  Volunteers will be able to eat at the event and are encourage to work both shifts, if able.  Please follow the link below to sign up!





Is that “For Here” or “To Go?”

DS184_Compostable_DigitalSign2With the start of a new semester, brings a new inititative from VT Dining Services: Compostable To-Go Containers.  These containers replace all foam clamshell containers in the units.  You will find these containers at Owens Food Court, Hokie Grill, West End Market and Turner Place.

Please remember to order “for here” when you’re eating in and return your compostable to-go container to the compost bins in our dining units.  Compostable To-Go containers can be returned to the following locations.

Dish Return Areas:

  • West End Market or
  • Owens Food Court

Waste Station Bins marked “Compostable” located in:

  • Turner Place at Lavery Hall
  • Squires Student Center
  • Graduate Life Center
  • Hokie Grill at Owens

It’s You, Not Us

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


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.


Virginia Tech Sustainability Highlights

The school year is coming to a close and yet another full year of sustainability efforts have moved forward.  Below are some highlights of Sustainable Dining and Sustainability efforts across campus during this past school year.  Thanks to the students, faculty and staff that have made this recognition possible and here’s to next year!

Virginia Tech Dining Services Dishes up VT Milk

In January 2013, Virginia Tech Dining Services started to serve “VT Milk” VTMilk_Logoat D2 in Dietrick Dining Hall.  VT Milk is produced on campus at the Dairy Science Department’s Dairy Barn, processed in Goochland Virginia and then brought back to Virginia Tech to be served.

Take a look at this video that talks about the VT Milk program.

For more  information, click here.

Virginia Tech Dining Servic
es continues its commitment to Sustainability

PME 7The end of the 2012 calendar year marked the Virginia Tech’s first year of diverting more than 1 million pounds of food waste from the Landfill.  As of August 2012, when Turner Place at Lavery Hall opened, all Dining Units are participating in the composting program.  The composting program began in 2009 and has since grown to include all Dining Units.

Working with Poplar Manor Enterprises, based in Riner VA, much of our food waste is diverted from the landfill a

For more information,
click here.nd converted into compost, a natural fertilizer which is used at the Dining Services Garden at Kentland Farm to promote soil health and provide necessary nutrients to crops.

Turner Place at Lavery Hall is LEED Silver Certified

Turner Place at Lavery Hall which houses Virginia Tech Dining Services’ newest Dining Hall as well as several classrooms and common space has received a LEED Silver Certification.  LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification is determined through the US Green Building Council and Turner Place at Lavery Hall is now the 6th building on campus to receive a LEED Certification.

For more information, click here.

Virginia Tech receives an AASHE STARS Silver Ranking

Virginia Tech submitted their 2nd application to AASHE STARS (Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System) this year and received a Silver ranking.  This is Virginia Tech’s second ranking from AASHE STARS and with a total score of 63.3, Virginia Tech was just a couple points away from reaching a Gold ranking.

The VT Milk program was recognized by AASHE STARS as an “innovation credit” and added to Virginia Tech’s overall ranking.

For more information on the ranking, click here and for details on Virginia Tech’s score, click here.

The Princeton Review’s 2013 “Guide to Green Colleges”

Virginia Tech was chosen to be featured in The Princeton Review’s “Guide to Green Colleges” for the fourth consecutive year.  This publication was first created in 2010, and Virginia Tech has been a part of it since then.  Princeton Review ranks universities on a scale from 1-100.  All schools that reach an 83 or higher are included in their “Guide to Green Colleges” publication.  Virginia Tech received a 98 in 2013.

The Princeton Review, has determined that nearly two thirds of the incoming freshmen felt that sustainability played a key role in their decision to attend a specific college or university.

Click here to view the full Guide to Green Colleges for 2013 and click here to see the listing of schools by state.

For more information,  click here.

Virginia Tech Receives Governor’s Environmental Excellence Program

The Office of Energy and Sustainability at Virginia Tech received a Gold Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award.  This is Virginia Tech’s 4th award recognition in the past 6 years and it is a testament to Virginia Tech’s comittment being a “leader in campus sustainability,” as stated in the Virginia Tech Climate Action Commitment and Sustainability Plan.

“Virginia Tech’s campus sustainability program seeks to improve the efficiency of campus facilities and operations; enhance academic programs related to sustainability; engage the campus and surrounding community; and change campus culture and behavior to conserve energy, water, and materials.” (Norman, 2013)

For more information, click here.

Virginia Tech receives a 2013 “Race to Excellence” Gold Award

For the fourth consecutive year, Virginia Tech received recognition for its Alternative Transportation programs.

For more information, click here.

Virginia Tech recognized by Tree Campus USA

For the fifth consecutive year, Virginia Tech has been named a Tree Campus USA.

“Virginia Tech achieved the title by meeting Tree Campus USA’s five standards, which include maintaining a tree advisory committee, a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures toward trees, an Arbor Day observance and student service-learning projects.” (Norman, 2013)

For more information, click here.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.     – Margaret Mead

Waste Stations at Turner Place

In August, Dining Services opened Turner Place at Lavery Hall.  With bagel sandwiches, crepes and gelato, soups and salads, burritos, rotisserie chicken, personal pan pizzas and freshly blended smoothies, you can’t go wrong!

With a new dining hall comes also a new method of waste sorting.  In Turner Place, we have 10 Waste Stations with receptacles for compostables, recyclables and landfill-ables.  Each bin has a sign with pictures of what should go in each bin.  These Waste Stations are designed to help you think through where each bit of waste should go.

In Dining Halls on campus like West End Market, Owens Dining Hall, and D2, the waste sorting is done behind the scenes by Dining Services’ wonderful staff members.  At Turner Place, it’s all up to you!

In 2012, all of Dining Services diverted over 500 tons of waste towards compost.  This means that through this composting program, we’ve kept over 100,000 lbs of food waste out of the landfill!

What goes where:

Don’t feel overwhelmed!  When the compost or recycle bins are contaminated, the entire batch of compostables or recyclables will be thrown away in the landfill.    Ask a Dining Services Staff member if you have questions. Remember, all  food leftovers, and paper products can be composted.  Plastics 1 – 7  can be recycled, and everything else goes into the landfill.  If you’re not sure about which bin, put it in the landfill bin.



When in doubt, throw it out (in the landfill).

At University of Michigan, students are taking waste sorting seriously!

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

Happy Holidays Hokies!

Well it’s cooling down (finally!) and feeling a little more like winter, exams are over and it’s time to take a nice long break.  It’s been a busy year and semester.  Take some time to reflect on your own accomplishments and we will do the same.

We had a year filled with transition.  Our previous Dining Services Sustainability Coordinator, Elena Dulys, moved on to Grad School in Michigan.  Our new Sustainability Coordinator, Rial Tombes, started in September and was able to see the tail end of the season at the Dining Services Garden at Kentland Farm.  Nonetheless, the Garden crew had an excellent season, and their work is very much appreciated!

The Dining Services Garden at Kentland Farm:  This season, the Dining Services Garden at Kentland Farm expanded to just over 3 acres.  With 2 committed farm crew members,  8 dedicated staff  from various units within Dining Services, 100+ volunteers, and more than 10 organizations involved, we had an incredibly fruitful and exciting season.  This season brought in almost 21,000 lbs of local produce into our Dining Centers from just 10 miles down the road! Volunteer opportunities will be available once again in the spring – keep an eye out on this site!

Volunteers from this past season:  tell us what you thought of it!  Survey link HERE.

Thank You from Chelsea, Adam and all of the Dining Services Staff!

Thank You from Chelsea, Adam and all of the Dining Services Staff!

Also, this fall, Dining Services purchased equipment to be able to blanch and fast freeze vegetables from the garden.  This means we will be able to serve local vegetables from the garden even during the winter!


A PME Truck picks up food waste and takes it to their facility in Riner, VA.

A PME Truck picks up food waste and takes it to their facility in Riner, VA.

In 2012, Dining Services alone composted more than 500 tons of food waste.  This means that 500 tons were not thrown in the landfill and instead will be turned into compost!  This past year, several dining units were added to our composting program including, West End Market and Turner Place.  With our new Waste Station set up in Turner Place, educational efforts have increased to teach students how to sort their waste.

Dining Services Green Team Program: Thanks to all the green team logostudents that made the Dining Services Green Team a success!  With new posters and some fancy buttons, we are able to “train” our fellow hokies on sorting their waste.  The Dining Services Green Team will be gearing up once again in 2013.

Dining Services is looking forward to next year and hopefully you are too!  What would you like to see happen in the coming semester and year to make Dining at VT more sustainable?  Leave a message in the comment section of this post! 

Happy Holidays and have a wonderful break Hokies!

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.