Gator Dining does more than sustain students between meals.
Gator Dining Services was presented this week with the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s “Campus Sustainability Case Study Award for its Foam Free Dining program. Since it began in 2011, the program has diverted about 1.2 million foam products from landfills, according to a press release.
The foam cups, plates, bowls and to-go containers were replaced with compostable products.
“Gator Dining Services has made strides towards ensuring a more sustainable dining operation on our campus,” Jill Rodriguez, sustainability manager for Gator Dining Services, wrote in an email.
She said Gator Dining also stopped using plastic bags in Spring 2013. After its plastic-bag-free initiative, it received a UF Champions for Change award in April.
All plastic bags were replaced with paper bags, which can be composted or recycled.
The sustainability efforts are part of UF’s Zero Waste goal for 2015.
“It’s a good idea, but it’s more inconvenient,” said Aisha Imam, an 18-year-old UF biology freshman.
She said the paper bags used by Gator Dining have no handles and are harder to carry, but she has noticed Gator Dining locations are more sustainable than other local restaurants.
“I mean I think it is a good thing we’re making a step in the right direction supporting the environment,” Imam said.
A version of this story ran on page 4 on 10/11/2013 under the headline "Gator Dining wins sustainability award for being foam-free"