Food Initiatives

Sherman Center cafe

Composting makes for happy pigs and people

Rather than throw away food waste, scraps from the 7,500 daily meals prepared in the University Campus kitchens are now feeding pigs thanks to a cooperative composting program with Tyde Brook Farm in Holden, Massachusetts.

Part of the ongoing efforts to reduce the waste stream leaving the University Campus bound for a landfill, the food re-use composting program is shipping an average of 100 gallons of food waste a week to the farm. The food waste involved is vegetable trimmings from the kitchen, leftovers from the salad bars, unsold prepared foods, such as half-filled pans of entrees and pre-packaged items that remain unsold past their expiration date. The program does not include food left on people’s trays—that is still considered trash.

Reusing cooking oil

The food sercive on the University Campus filters cooking oil to extend its useful the life, thereby reducing the overall usage by 35 percent, saving some 6,000 gallons of oil a year from the previous process.When the oil can no longer be used for cooking, it is collected by a firm that provides rendering and grease removal services across the country. The oil is transported to the company’s northeast facility in Billerica, Massachusetts, where it is processed for reuse. Most of the cooking oil is recycled into yellow grease, a product used as a high energy ingredient in animal feed.

Yellow grease is also used to produce biodiesel, a non-toxic biodegradable diesel fuel substitute. According to industry sources, when used in place of petroleum, or in blends with petroleum, biodiesel can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 78 percent.