Little steps make a big difference

Table of Contents:


& Awareness

Waste Stream

The photos above were taken from various
community events and sustainable initiatives
that Campus Dining is proud to have been a part of.


Energy & Water



Our Mission:

CMU Campus Dining Recognizes the growing impact and importance of environmental service and education on campus and will develop, with thoughtful consideration, authentic, holistic programs to reduce our consumption of resources, support our community and move towards sustainable future for Central Michigan University.

To view our Green Thread sustainability platform and video, click here.

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Sustainable Food: Local, Organic, Sustainably Certified, Natural, etc.

Below is a list of CMU Campus Dining’s sustainable efforts in the category of Sustainable Food. (For more information about this topic, click here.)
  • Feature Eco Grounds brewed coffee in all Java City locations, including Fair Trade, organic, “Relationship”, Rainforest Alliance, Shade Grown and Bird-Friendly Coffees,
  • Serve Rain Forest Alliance Regular Coffee in all four Residential restaurants.
  • Our Retail Locations offer a wide variety of natural and organic products purchased from United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI) – – the largest publicly traded distributor of natural and organic products in the United States
  • Serve local Michigan produce and other goods manufactured in Michigan whenever possible, based on seasonality and availability.  
    • Purchase hormone-free dairy products from (Michigan) farmers through Prairie Farms Dairy. 
    • Aunt Millie’s, with bakeries in Coldwater, Jackson, Kalamazoo and Plymouth, Michigan, supplies breads and buns utilized in all our locations,
    • Hot Dogs and Sausage products are purchased from Kent Foods, in Grand Rapids, Michigan,
    • Our Ice Cream is Michigan-made Country Fresh,
    • Kellogg’s cereals, Morning Star Farms products and ice cream cones produced in Battle Creek, Michigan, are served in all locations,
    • We hand-dip a variety of fried food items, utilizing Drake’s batter mix, produced in Marshall, Michigan,
    • Much of our produce is purchased through Markon Cooperative, known for their 5-Star Food Safety Audit Program,, and comes from several farms around the state of Michigan.  Some of these farms include River Ridge Farms in Sparta, Skibbe Farms in Benton Harbor, Barry Creek Farms in Saginaw and Dreyer Farms in Allendale.
    • We have a strong partnership with our primary food provider, Gordon Food Service (GFS), a Grand Rapids, Michigan based company, dedicated to energy conservation and transportation efficiency, ensuring our purchasing program is aligned with our commitment to sustainability and food safety.
  • We use Cage Free Shell Eggs in all our Residential Restaurants. (http:/
  • Many of our Seafood products are approved by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program( and (
  • All four Residential Restaurants utilize Zoye Fryer Oil for deep-frying needs. Zoye is 100% soybean oil, and is produced by Zeeland Food Services, Michigan's largest food grade oil refinery and a family-owned business with a strong commitment to sustainability.

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Responsible Procurement: Environmentally Sensitive Purchasing Decisions 

Below is a list of CMU Campus Dining’s sustainable efforts in the category of Responsible Procurement. (For more information about this topic, click here.)

  • Reusable bags are available for purchase in the P.O.D. Market.  
  • Disposable packaging for Meals 2 Go is made with Ingeo (tm) a 100% renewable material made from plants and compostable in municipal and industrial composting facilities.
  • All Styrofoam products, stored in the Residential Restaurants in the event of a dish machine malfunction, have been eliminated and replaced with paper products, and products manufactured from plants and modified with starch Retail locations and the Catering department are also using similar products and have reduced the use of plastic and foam. 
  • Office Paper purchased for printers and copiers is 30% post-consumer content, and vegetable ink is used wherever possible.
  • Other paper products, such as toilet tissue, facial tissue, paper towels and napkins re produced from 100% recycled materials.
  • Recycled toners and printer cartridges are used in all Campus Dining Office areas.

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Waste Management: RecycleMania, Zero Waste, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Composting

Below is a list of CMU Campus Dining’s sustainable efforts in the category of Waste Management. (For more information about this topic, click here.)

  • Meal Plans and FLEX ordering are available through ecommerce to reduce paper waste.
  • Trayless Dining featured in our Residential Restaurants to conserve water and energy, reduce the amount of chemicals used and minimize food waste.  Waste was reduced 33% after going trayless in the fall 2008 semester. 
  • Our Java City locations provide recycle bins and signage to encourage recycling of coffee jackets.
  • Our napkin holders across campus are one-at-a-time style and napkins are imprinted “Save the environment – one napkin at a time – made with 100% recycled material”, minimizing waste  
  • A recycling program is in full force at all locations across campus.  Campus Dining recycles cardboard, office paper, register receipts, newspapers, magazines, glass, plastic, aluminum, batteries, light bulbs, Styrofoam, shrink wrap, toners, and print cartridges.
  • CMU Campus Dining, in partnership with Facilities Management, has participated in Recyclemania – a national recycling competition since 2008.
  • All Retail locations offer a discount for guests who bring in a reusable mug
  • Our “Joe to Grow” program in Java City locations features complimentary coffee grounds to our guests to use for composting and fertilizing purposes.
  • Campus Dining has provided used fryer oil to the CMU Chemistry Department for a pilot bio-diesel fuel production program. 
  • Currently, our remaining used fryer oil is diverted to 100% sustainable use by Darling International, a Michigan based company,  We ensure maximize life of our fryer oil through daily filtering and educating our staff in proper handling of the oil.
  • In March, 2010, Campus Dining, in partnership with the Student Environmental Alliance, Facilities Management and Recycling Coordinators started up a pilot composting program. In the fall of 2010, all four Residential Restaurants have partnered with Facilities Management and provided pre-consumer waste to be composted. The composting program expanded to include the Catering Kitchen, Down Under Food Court, Goodies to Go, and Starbucks in January 2012. Both Java City locations also compost coffee grounds on a regular basis.
  • Zero Waste - In March, 2012, Robinson Residential Restaurant, in partnership with Facilities Management and Future Organics (
  • conducted a Zero Waste Pilot program for 8 weeks, composting ALL food products, including plate waste, paper and wax coated cardboard. These products were taken to composting facilities, primarily to Morgan Composting, located in Sears, Michigan, where they were processed, and utilized for several programs: the manufacture of organic fertilizer, or the creation of a natural gas alternative to be used directly as fuel, or for the production of electricity. In the 8 week pilot, we reduced our landfill waste from 86% of the total of compost waste and landfill combined, to 5.9% of the total of landfill and compost waste combined. During the month of April, our waste weighed 7.71 tons. .46 tons went to a landfill, and 7.25 tons was diverted to compost so 94% of the total tonnage of waste was diverted.
  • Zero Waste goes campus wide- in April, 2013, both Merrill Residential Restaurant and Robinson Residential Restaurant partnered with Facilities Management and Future Organics to conduct another pilot zero waste program. The dumpsters were removed from both sites, and replaced with Compost Tanks. The minimal amount of landfill trash, consisting of plastic wrapping materials, plastic gloves and plastic that is not accepted by the Material Recovery Facility, was put in a landfill dumpster used by Residents in the halls near the loading docks of the two buildings. During the month of April, the two locations composted 27,000 pounds of food waste- pre and post-consumer --, cardboard and paper products. The program was expanded to include FFCo -- Woldt Residential Restaurant, RFoC  - Carey Residential Restaurant and Barnes Kitchen and Java City coffee grounds, in the July, 2013 and continues today.
  • All Residential Restaurants eliminated the use of sugar and creamer packets/cups, and currently use reusable sugar shakers, and creamer in recyclable containers.
  • All Residential Locations are using reusable Evo Spray Bottles for cooking oils in operations, reducing the use of aerosol cans.
  • Campus Dining and Residence Life gave all Resident Students a BPA-free water bottle in the fall of 2012, encouraging students to "reuse" and reduce waste.
  • In November, 2012, Central Michigan University was recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency for our composting efforts and significant reduction in food waste in the "Food Recovery Challenge".   

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Energy & Water Conservation: Reduction, Technical Solutions, Renewable Energy, etc.

Below is a list of CMU Campus Dining's sustainable efforts in the category of Energy & Water Conservation.

  • Energy efficient CFL bulbs are used in all our locations where applicable.
  • Flow reduction devices installed on faucets reduced the water flow from 2.5 gallons per minute to .5 gallons per minute, and on spray heads, toilets and urinals, water flow has been reduced to 1.5 gallons per minute.
  • General energy reduction and water conservation practices are in place in all of our operations, such as operating lights, equipment, hood fans, disposals, etc. only when necessary and shutting down coolers and freezers during down times.
  • Facilities implemented an energy reduction plan in all kitchens during the 2010-11 academic year, installing curtains in various production areas to direct/control air flow and reduce unnecessary exhaust draw for most efficient use of energy.

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Education and Awareness

Below is a list of CMU Campus Dining's accomplishments towards our commitment to educate about sustainability on the campus of CMU.

  • A Sustainability section is included in both our full-time and student employee hand books, ensuring our staff is aware of our Sustainability platform.  We have incorporated Sustainability into our employee training programs to further educate our staff and keep them updated on our initiatives.
  • We have created a Sustainability Policy Guide and developed a Sustainability Audit for all locations to ensure that we are consistently adhering to standards.
  • Campus Dining has teamed up with General Mills for the Drive to Go Green and Live Green Get Green Sweepstakes,
  • CMU Campus Dining participated in CMU’s Education for a Sustainable Present and Future Conference in 2009 and CMU’s Global Think-in, April 2010.
  • Throughout Earth Week, Campus Dining provides a variety of information (benefits of eating vegetarian, tips on how to be more sustainable and what Campus Dining has done for sustainability) and activities (Dim the Lights at Dinner, Make Your Mark thumb print posters, allowing students to Pledge to Go Green, and What’s Important To Me, allowing students to identify what is most important to them pertaining to the environment and going green.)  In the past we have participated in the Earth Day Event on Warriner Mall, with our Food Crew available to provide information on sustainability. 
  • Our Healthy for You program provides education on and identification of healthy options available in our locations, allowing students to make healthy, sustainable food choices.

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Below is a list of the organizations and events that Campus Dining proudly supports as part of our community outreach. We recognize all staff members who give back to the community by participating in our Community Service Programs.

  • Adopt-A-Family,
  • Adopt-A-Highway
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Great Lakes Bay Region
  • Isabella Community Soup Kitchen
  • Love, INC.
  • United Way of Isabella County
  • Special Olympics
  • Community Compassion Network’s Mobile Food Pantry.


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