Reducing Waste

reusable water bottles

At Tufts Dining, we do everything we can to reduce waste generated from our dining facilities. That means tracking food consumption, eliminating trays from our dining centers, recycling and composting, encouraging the use of reusable water bottles—and more. We work hard to send as little as possible to landfills. With your help, we can make a BIG difference. Here’s some of what we’re doing.

Stopping Waste Before it Starts

To make real change, we need to stop waste before it even starts.

That’s why at Tufts Dining, we hand out Tufts reusable Nalgene leakproof water bottles to our first-year students and ask them to use their water bottles all over campus.

We often purchase produce that's aesthetically imperfect, but still fresh and delicious, to keep good food from going uneaten.

We also use FoodPro, a food management system, to track our food consumption. This enables us to reduce waste by gauging how much food to order and how many servings to make. We aim for just right.

And, we repurpose food. When we do have excess food, we don't waste it—we donate leftover meals to Food for Free, which fights hunger in our communities. Waste is becoming less and less at Tufts Dining.

Our efforts don't stop there. We also host zero-waste events—including the President’s Picnic, Matriculation Lunch, and Commencement Lunch, each of which serves thousands of people. And when we do have excess food, we don’t waste it—we donate leftover meals to Food for Free, which fights hunger in our communities.

Recycling and Composting

Finished with that yogurt cup? Look for one of the recycling bins in all Tufts Dining facilities and all around campus. Recycling and composting are two important ways we can divert waste from landfills.

Tufts Dining partners with Tufts Facilities Services – Recycling to recycle beverage cartons, paper cups, cardboard, aluminum, tin, glass, plastic, and other recyclable materials. On top of recycling, Tufts Dining has been composting for over 15 years. We compost both pre- and post-consumer waste.

The Tufts Composting Program has reduced waste of solid food and non-food products by over 80%. In the 2014–2015 school year, Tufts Dining on the Medford campus composted 300 tons of food waste—over 50% of which was post-consumer, or food sent to the dish room by students/customers. (Did you know that 30% of post-consumer compost is made up of apple cores, banana peels, chicken bones, and other non-edible food items?)

Learn more about recycling and composting at Tufts.

Reusable Mug and Water Bottle Discount Program

Want to avoid plastic and paper disposable cups? Use a Tisch Library or Fletcher School reusable mug and save 10¢ per purchase on any hot beverage at Mugar Café, Hodgdon Food-on-the-Run, Commons Marketplace, and Brown & Brew Coffee House.

You can also bring a Tufts University Choose-to-Reuse water bottle to Hodgdon Food-on-the-Run, and Commons Marketplace for a discount on any fountain drink. What’s more, we provide filtered water hydration stations in Commons Marketplace to offer an alternative to buying bottled drinks. Fill up your reusable water bottle for free!

Our reusable mugs and Tufts Nalgene leakproof water bottles are available for purchase at Commons Marketplace.

Contact Us

Have questions or ideas about waste reduction at Tufts Dining? Contact us!