Dining Services Increases Stake in Sustainability

Georgia Tech Dining Services continues to work toward zero waste, undergoing an energy audit and partnering with a national composting company to assist in campus landscaping.

Beginning summer semester, Brittain Dining Hall will be the first on-campus site to participate, stocking only biodegradable and reusable items. National composting company EnviRelation will collect all organic waste discarded by diners and deliver it to a local composting facility. When matured into a nutrient-rich soil additive, the compost will be returned to Georgia Tech, said Maria Linderoth, program coordinator with the Office of Solid Waste Management and Recycling. "We will reuse the [compost] as a landscaping soil conditioner on campus," she said.

According to Dining Services Marketing Manager Dori Martin, the composting program will be implemented in other campus dining facilities. "Once the program is going well at Brittain, we'll add Woodruff and then it will come to the Student Center," she said. EnviRelation was formed as a composting service for the hospitality industry. Last February, the company began operations in Atlanta, working with the Green Foodservice Alliance.

Dining Services is working to reduce waste in other ways, Martin says. Beginning fall semester, student meal plans will include reusable cups, which will also provide a discount for purchasing fountain drinks. Since no meal plan is currently available for faculty and staff members, they will be able to separately purchase the cups and participate in the discount.

To better regulate its energy usage, Dining Services has contracted The Loyalton Group and undertaken an energy audit of its facilities. "It's an extensive audit to identify energy inefficiencies," Martin said. "It's our hope that we can reduce our carbon footprint by roughly 26 percent."

Georgia Tech Dining Services manages eight locations around campus, including the Student Center, Brittain Dining Hall and Woodruff Dining Hall. A full detailing of sustainability practices is listed on its Web site.

The Georgia Institute of Technology is one of the world's premier research universities. Ranked seventh among U.S. News & World Report's top public universities and the eighth best engineering and information technology university in the world by Shanghai Jiao Tong University's Academic Ranking of World Universities, Georgia Tech’s more than 20,000 students are enrolled in its Colleges of Architecture, Computing, Engineering, Liberal Arts, Management and Sciences. Tech is among the nation's top producers of women and minority engineers. The Institute offers research opportunities to both undergraduate and graduate students and is home to more than 100 interdisciplinary units plus the Georgia Tech Research Institute.