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Food service recycling and composting

Photo of cafe bins

In 2011, Food & Nutrition Services retail outlets implemented a big change: Styrofoam serveware was eliminated, and compostable ware took its place. At the same time, we established a recycling program to complement the compostable ware. We knew the transition would be challenging, but, thanks to your support, the programs are working well today.

The biggest challenge, by far, is successfully communicating to the customer “what goes where.” Some of our sister institutions, such as UC San Francisco, have the space to operate traylines, in which the attendants do the sorting. Not so here. We do our best to keep it simple, but simplicity is confounded by the need to have a number of packages available for the wide variety of items served in the cafeterias. And yes, we know that it can be difficult to distinguish between compostable and non-compostable items, but, as the program AND the products mature, this process will become more streamlined.