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Earth Friendly Dining

UCSB Residential Dining Services is taking strides to protect, preserve and regenerate our environmental resources by practicing “earth-friendly” dining, and helping UCSB on its way to becoming a sustainable community. It is our hope that these initiatives will have a positive impact on our local environment and will make a difference in the lives of those who pass through our doors year after year.

Committed to Sustainable, Local, and Organic Foods

Our commitment to our customers consists of menu items and offerings made from scratch with fresh, natural and seasonal ingredients, with minimal additives, processing and pesticide use. Our dedication to wellness – personal and environmental - includes offering a large variety of healthy and sustainable food choices. Following are some of the daily offerings in the dining commons:

Waste Reduction & Responsible Waste Management

  • Composting 100% of pre- and post-consumer food waste, recycling and diverting 90% of total waste from the landfills
  • Practicing tray-less dining to reduce food waste, water and energy use
  • Recycling all cooking oil waste for use as biodiesel fuel
  • Using compostable disposable products for Special Events Catering & Concessions
  • Cooking from scratch in small batches to reduce waste
  • Buying in bulk to reduce waste from packaging and minimize the frequency of product deliveries
  • Purchasing from vendors with a proven track record of environmental responsibility
  • Creating a paperless environment by providing up to the minute information through the DigiKnow network
  • Promoting Zero-Waste events for Special Events Catering & Concessions
  • Partnering with Environmental Protection Agency on Food Recovery Challenge

Education & Outreach Programs

Sustainable Building Practices & Energy Efficiency

  • Green Business Certified – all Dining Commons, Special Events Catering & Concessions are certified -  satisfying stringent standards set by the Santa Barbara County Green Business Program
  • Purchasing Energy Star-rated and Energy Efficient equipment
  • Installing “ventilation on demand” systems in our kitchens saves hours of wasted electricity usage
  • Incorporating energy-saving lighting systems in our renovations and new construction
  • Using electric, hybrid and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) vehicles

“What’s in the Works?”

  • Waste Tracking – conducting food waste audits to identify opportunities, make adjustments, and reduce food waste
  • Food Waste Compost – closing the loop by using 100% of our food waste compost throughout our Housing & Residential Services grounds


  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Food Recovery Challenge Award 2015.
  • National Association of College & University Food Service (NACUFS) Sustainability Awards 2013 Bronze standing for Procurement Practices.
  • Sustainability Tracking and Rating System (STARS) Program’s Gold Rating Award 2011-2012.
  • Winner of the “2010 Energy Efficiency Partnership Program for Sustainable Food Service Operations,” presented at the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference.


Also see H&RS Earth-friendly Living.