Southwestern University Dining Services has introduced various measures in it’s operations that serve to preserve and protect the environment such as recycling paper, cardboard and our used cooking oils, and locally sourcing our produce whenever possible. Other initiatives we have implemented at Southwestern are:
We support local businesses and communities by purchasing from local producers and growers. Sodexo buys 100 percent of our fresh dairy products from local and regional farmers. For the future, we have committed to serve only farm and ranch products that are sustainably grown by local producers and minority and women owned businesses.
As part of its commitment to increase the sustainability of its operations, Dining Services uses Ecolab’s Apex™ dishwashing system. Apex combines technology and products designed to save water and energy, minimize the impact of products on the environment, and has a built-in method of measuring results. Apex uses a unique combination of detergents, rinse additives, equipment and consultative services to address the operational challenges in foodservice operations. The Apex management approach uses a tablet PC and wireless technology to communicate with the system’s controller to download, process and analyze data to establish each foodservice operation’s “rack-to-guest ratio.” By monitoring and improving this ratio, the system helps reduce the amount of water and energy used at each facility, and improve total operational efficiency.
All locations will receive the benefits of using less water, energy and labor, thus minimizing their operations’ overall impact on the environment.
In addition, the Apex system further supports Dining Services’ sustainability initiatives with non-caustic chemistry and 95% less packaging material than current methods. Apex products come in a compact solid form that significantly reduces transportation shipments compared to bulkier liquid detergents.
XPressnap dispensers are another solution to reducing energy and waste. They save 30% in paper over traditional napkin dispensing mechanisms. The great thing about these dispensers is that they help the environment while helping to keep costs down. The napkins are made of 100% recycled paper and the dispenser will encourage customers to take (and waste) less napkins. Energy is saved because less power is used to recycle paper products than to create them from virgin material.
According to Xpressnap, enough is saved through utilizing recycle napkins to power 600 American homes for an entire year! More than half a million gallons of oil was saved – 38 tanker trucks worth – and 41 tons of pollutants were kept out of the environment. 4,131 cubic yards of paper were diverted from landfill space. This is enough to cover an entire football field with a two and a half foot deep stack of paper.
Southwestern Dining has opted to discontinue the use of trays. The removal of trays has reduced the amount of electricity, chemicals, and water used in the dining halls. Trayless dining also reduces the amount of detergent used in the dishwashing process as well as the amount of grease and solid food waste going down the drain, improving the local water supply as a result.