Dining Services does not have any procurement guidelines regarding the purchase of recycled or recyclable products. They directly purchased 332 cases of paper towels, napkins, and toilet paper in 2003. W&L embossed paper products are composed of bleached, non-recycled fiber. Paper towels and toilet paper contain some recycled or 100% recycled fiber. An effort needs to be made procure un-bleached recycled paper product.
Regarding dishes, the Marketplace uses reusable china, glassware and flatware. However, each day, patrons of the fast food establishments consume food and beverages in non-reusable, non-compostable, and non-recyclable (locally) containers. Vendors, such as Eco-products, offer 100% compostable and recyclable plastic cups that could displace the non-biodegradable cups currently used in the Cafe 77 and fraternity and sorority houses. They, the 16 ounce cup, may be purchased at a unit cost of 10.4 cents each. For catered events, Dining Services offers clear plastic cups (12 oz.) with the University crest. The same company offers the same cup at 8.5 cents each and up to four colors of printing.
Currently there are no policies regarding purchasing of recycled or organic materials. In the fall of 2004, students input resulted in an “Organic theme Dinner” for meal plan students in the Marketplace. This was continued in fall 2005. This is a step in the right direction but more purchases of organic products should be made as costs allow. The option for organically produced foods and beverages should be expanded and offered on a daily basis in the Marketplace, Cafe 77 and the Law School Brief Stop. In doing so, the staff could educate the public of the health and environmental benefits of foods such as organic produce and shade grown coffee. A target goal of organic and sustainably produced food would be 30-40%.
Dining Services recently has enlisted the assistance of David Ward from the Association of Family Farms to assist Dining Services in implementing Value Based Value Chains into its local food purchasing process. This system recently implemented in Chicago by Levi Brothers and Bon Appetite provides a unique opportunity for our institution to meet the demands of institutional local procurement while maintaining and developing the farmer – community bond.
Dining Services has also provided to many of its catering customers menus crafted from local products. We have provided numerous groups and departments with locally sourced food items and compostable plastics upon request.