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  • AASHE-STARS

The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 45.51
Liaison Mat Thijssen
Submission Date Nov. 6, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Waterloo
OP-8: Sustainable Dining

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.63 / 2.00 Annette Carroll
Financial Coordinator
Food Services
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a published sustainable dining policy?:
No

A brief description of the sustainable dining policy:
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Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor source food from a campus garden or farm?:
Yes

A brief description of the program to source food from a campus garden or farm:

The University Club has a garden next to the building, maintained by employees, which grows herbs, small tomatoes, and other produce that is used within the menu.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host a farmers market, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery program, and/or urban agriculture project, or support such a program in the local community?:
Yes

A brief description of the farmers market, CSA or urban agriculture project:

Food Services coordinates the longstanding UW Farm Market during Spring and Fall terms to bring fresh, local produce to the campus community. It is hosted weekly or bi-weekly in the Student Life Centre or other available space.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a vegan dining program that makes diverse, complete-protein vegan options available to every member of the campus community at every meal?:
No

A brief description of the vegan dining program:
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Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host low impact dining events (e.g. Meatless Mondays)?:
No

A brief description of the low impact dining events:
---

Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host sustainability-themed meals (e.g. local harvest dinners)?:
No

A brief description of the sustainability-themed meals:
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Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor host a sustainability-themed food outlet on-site, either independently or in partnership with a contractor or retailer?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainability-themed food outlet:

FRSH is a new outlet location that focuses on healthy and low-meat options across its full menu, including custom made rice or quinoa bowls, hot burritos and sandwiches, salads, wraps, smoothies, and fresh-squeezed juices. As of September 2018, it has been converted into a fully vegan-vegetarian outlet.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor inform customers about low impact food choices and sustainability practices through labeling and signage in dining halls?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainability labeling and signage in dining halls:

Food Services has begun highlighting local products on the menu, and displays information about Fair Trade certified products wherever they are sold, including the social and environmental benefits of fair trade.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor engage in outreach efforts to support learning and research about sustainable food systems?:
Yes

A brief description of the outreach efforts to support learning and research about sustainable food systems:

The University has hosted two workshops on Healthy and Sustainable Food as part of the 2017 Staff Conference, and the Employee Wellness Day, and has integrated a session on Healthy and Sustainable Food within its employee Sustainability Certificate training program. In addition, it hosts outreach events as part of campus fair trade week in September, to highlight fair trade tarts and pastries and raise awareness about fair trade products.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have other sustainability-related initiatives (e.g. health and wellness initiatives, making culturally diverse options available)?:
Yes

A brief description of the other sustainability-related dining initiatives:

Food Services is ensuring that Halal options are available in cafeterias to accommodate a growing demand.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor participate in a competition or commitment program and/or use a food waste prevention system to track and improve its food management practices?:
No

A brief description of the food recovery competition or commitment program or food waste prevention system:
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Has the institution or its primary dining services contractor implemented trayless dining (in which trays are removed from or not available in dining halls) and/or modified menus/portions to reduce post-consumer food waste?:
No

A brief description of the trayless dining or modified menu/portion program:
---

Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor donate food that would otherwise go to waste to feed people?:
No

A brief description of the food donation program:
---

Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor divert food materials from the landfill, incinerator or sewer for animal feed or industrial uses (e.g. converting cooking oil to fuel, on-site anaerobic digestion)?:
Yes

A brief description of the food materials diversion program:

Grease and oil from kitchens are collected and provided to a third party farm for beneficial use.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a pre-consumer composting program?:
Yes

A brief description of the pre-consumer composting program:

Waterloo has had a longstanding pilot with the Region of Waterloo to collect back-of-house food prep waste and spoilage through the local green bin program. In 2018, this was converted into a private organics collection contract with a certified waste provider.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor have a post-consumer composting program?:
Yes

A brief description of the post-consumer composting program:

Yes, launched in September 2018 at core food services cafeteria areas.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor utilize reusable service ware for “dine in” meals?:
Yes

A brief description of the reusable service ware program:

In some locations, reusable plates, cups, and cutlery are available.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor provide reusable and/or third party certified compostable containers and service ware for “to-go” meals (in conjunction with an on-site composting program)?:
Yes

A brief description of the compostable containers and service ware:

Waterloo has phased out plastic clamshell containers in favour of compostable paper containers. As the institution prepares to launch its post-consumer organics collection program, this will enable most materials to be composted from cafeterias. In addition, Waterloo launched a reusable “eco-container” program in one residence building in 2017/18. Students pay a deposit for the container, which can be exchanged for a clean one and students receive a 20 cent discount on their meal when using one of the containers. This program will be expanded going forward.


Does the institution or its primary dining services contractor offer discounts or other incentives to customers who use reusable containers (e.g. mugs) instead of disposable or compostable containers in “to-go” food service operations?:
Yes

A brief description of the reusable container discount or incentives program:

As noted above, the Eco-Container program is being used to promote reusable takeout containers and students receive a 20 cent discount. In addition, Food Services offers a discount at all locations (including franchises) for customers who bring a reusable cup or mug for coffee and tea.


Has the institution or its primary dining services contractor implemented other materials management initiatives to minimize waste not covered above (e.g. working with vendors and other entities to reduce waste from food packaging)?:
Yes

A brief description of other dining services materials management initiatives:

Food Services has transitioned away from using plastic straws in non-franchise operations, in favour of paper straws. These will minimize plastic waste and shift to a compostable option. The straws will be available on request from the cashier rather than being provided up-front, so it is easier for patrons to elect not to use a straw, and are being phased in as the old plastic straws are depleted. Food Services has also implemented a pay-by-weight program in residences, as opposed to a flat fee, so that students have a financial incentive to reduce food waste and only put as much on their plates as they can eat.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.