PSU Dining Services - Green Efforts
Our Commitment to Sustainability
Food is a part of our daily lives. What we eat, how it gets to us, the ways in which it is grown, produced, and/or processed - all of these things have far-reaching effects on our society, our health and our environment.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, agriculture is responsible for 13.5% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. With the decreasing global supply and rising cost of fossil fuels, the dining industry has both the responsibility and power to greatly contribute to the reversal of climate change.
PSU Dining Services, the university’s official dining services provider, has made strides towards ensuring more sustainable dining operations at Portland State University. Throughout our dining locations, our environmental stewardship efforts continue to evolve and expand, particularly in the areas of sustainable food, waste reduction and recycling, responsible procurement, and energy and water conservation.
We call our environmental stewardship efforts “Green Thread” because they weave through all our actions.
Composting Organic Materials
Last school year, we diverted 109 tons of food waste from the landfill through our composting efforts in the dining hall at the Ondine and in the Smith Center.
Supporting Sustainable Agriculture
In support of sustainable agriculture, PSU Dining purchases some products that are certified by the Food Alliance, a non-profit organization that certifies farms and ranches and food handlers (including packers, processors and distributors) for sustainable agricultural and business practices. We also emphasize purchasing locally grown and seasonally available produce. In 2007, the Ondine purchased 10,565 pounds of produce from farms located in Oregon and Washington.
All of our milk comes from Sunshine Dairy, a dairy that sources its milk from local family farms in the Willamette and Yakima Valleys. Sunshine Dairy’s farmers have always pledged not to inject their cows with the artificial growth hormone, rBST (recombinant Bovine Somatotropin), also known as rBGH (recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone). These farmers also pledge to follow farm plans for humane animal treatment and environmental improvements.
Most of our bread from comes from either Portland French Bakery or Franz, both local companies that bake bread right here, in Portland.
In the Smith Center, we also offer Higher Taste sandwiches and Nancy’s yogurt, products made locally in Oregon.
Country Natural Beef
In 2008, we began sourcing all of our hamburger beef for the food court in the Smith Center from Country Natural Beef, a rancher-owned cooperative based in eastern Oregon that is committed to providing sustainable, humanely-raised beef. Their herds spend most of their lives grazing on the range, and are never fed antibiotics, hormones or steroids. They have a 100% vegetarian diet. Country Natural Beef is also Food Alliance certified.
Local, cage-free eggs
All our eggs in the Ondine are produced locally by Stiebrs Farms in Yelm, WA. They are raised cage-free and have nests to lay their eggs in. They are fed a 100% vegetable diet and are free from hormones and antibiotics. The whole eggs from Stiebrs are also certified humane by Humane Farm Animal Care.
Fair Trade Products
PSU Dining serves fair trade coffees, espresso drinks and teas. Products include a combination of national and local brands to offer variety for campus customers. Fair trade coffee means that coffee growers receive a better price for their coffee when compared with most commodity coffee, thereby helping the often-poor farmers improve their lives and the lives of their families.
Portland Roasting is a local, values-driven coffee roaster that focuses on giving back to the farming community while actively seeking ways to do better -- on all fronts. Their mission is to search out not only great coffee but beans that are grown by farmers who are committed to stewardship of the land. The foundation of their business is their Farm Friendly DirectTM program, which involves paying growers a premium for their coffee, with 100% of that program premium going to farm and community projects.
PSU Dining purchases about 150 pounds of free trade and organic Starbucks coffee every week. For the last school year, that totals about 4,800 lbs of Starbucks fair trade and organic coffee brewed on campus.
NEW! Tray-Less Dining at Victor’s at the Ondine
In September 2008, PSU Dining went tray-less in the residential dining hall, Victor’s in the Ondine. Going tray-less conserves water, energy, and chemical cleaners used to wash trays. Tray-less dining also promotes healthier eating habits and reduces over consumption and food waste.
Striving to be a Zero Waste Dining Facility
Victor’s at the Ondine is becoming a Zero Waste Dining Hall. By composting all our food waste, recycling all containers and boxes, eliminating unnecessary packaging, eliminating trays, recycling cooking oil and even recycling plastic wrap, we are striving to become a zero waste dining facility. We are also educating our customers on how they can contribute to this goal.
Re-usable Mug Discount
To help you conserve resources, we offer a 10 cent discount every time you buy coffee or tea in your own re-usable mug. You can save green two ways – both for our environment and your pocketbook.
Elimination of Unnecessary Packaging
In the Smith Center, we have made the switch to bulk condiment dispensers to eliminate unnecessary packaging associated with individual packets. In the Ondine, we are eliminating individually wrapped butter and cream cheese packages.
Recycled Cooking Oil into Bio-diesel
This year, PSU is partnering with Sequential Bio-fuels to recycle all our waste cooking oil into bio-diesel. Every gallon of waste cooking oil recycled into bio-diesel means 16 pounds of carbon dioxide that’s not added to the atmosphere.
Greening our Catering Service
All catered events can be served without the use of disposable items at your request. We work closely with our catering customers to design sustainable menus when requested.
What Can YOU Do???
Taste don’t waste - take only what you know you will eat.
The Ondine is an all-you-care-to-eat facility. While we would like you to enjoy as much food as you’d like, try to avoid taking too much at first. You can always make a second trip! The food will still be there when you’re ready for more.
Did you know? - Every year America throws away 96 billion lbs of food. That’s 3,044 lbs thrown away every second.
Reduce your waste profile
You can purchase and use a reusable mug or cup instead of using a throw-away cup every time you get a drink. You can also use a re-usable shopping bag and forego plastic bags when you shop. And always be sure to recycle your bottles, cans and waste paper in the recycling containers provided on campus.
Did you know? - On average, the typical American throws away 4.5 lbs. of garbage every day. That’s 220 million tons of waste nation-wide per year!
Purchasing local produce has many benefits including supporting local farming, cutting down on the miles food has to travel (thereby reducing fuel use and pollution), ensuring a safe, stable, local food supply, ensuring a fresher product, and eating in harmony with the seasons.
Look for the “Locally Grown” tags in the dining hall and in the food court to identify locally-sourced items.
Did you know? - Most produce travels an average of 1,500 miles before reaching your plate?
Support organic and fair trade agriculture - make your dollar count.
Look for organic snack and grocery items and fair trade coffee options at the Smith Center and the Meetro.
For more tips on sustainable living, visit PSU’s Office of Sustainability web site at http://www.pdx.edu/sustainability/
Or, find out the latest info on campus at http://www.ecowiki.pdx.edu/