Sustainable Operations

The Love Food, Hate Waste campaign is dedicated to reducing food waste


R&DE Stanford Dining’s Sustainable Food Program is dedicated to sustainable operations through creating programs that increase efficiency, educate students and staff, and promote sustainable habits. Our goal is to reduce our consumption of resources, generate as little waste as possible, and responsibly reuse any resource waste that we do generate.

Our sustainable operations efforts align with the Love Food, Hate Waste campaign, which is dedicated to raising awareness about the need to reduce food waste. R&DE Stanford Dining’s programs in support of this goal include the following:

Trayless Dining

R&DE Stanford Dining offers All-You-Care-To-Eat meals in our dining halls, and we invite students and guests to serve themselves without the use of a tray. This initiative reduces food waste, as well as water and energy consumption (less dishwater and heat used) and emissions (transporting waste to landfills).


All dining halls collect pre- and post-production food waste and send it to an off-site composting facility. This diverts food waste from the landfill and results in fewer greenhouse gas emissions. 


R&DE Stanford Dining recycles paper, corrugated cardboard, plastic bags, aluminum cans, glass bottles and jars, tins cans, and aseptic containers from all of our dining facilities.

Food Donations

R&DE Stanford Dining donates leftover usable food to the student-run program SPOON (Stanford Project on Hunger) to distribute to the Palo Alto Opportunity Center. 

Waste Oil to Biodiesel

Waste oil from the dining halls — roughly 7,000 gallons a year — is converted to biodiesel by a local non-profit.

Energy Conservation

To conserve energy, our Dining in the Daylight program promotes using available sunlight during daytime hours. The program resulted from a collaborative project with the student-run Green Living Council and saves 20,735 kWh every year. When daylight is not available, we rely upon energy efficient LED bulbs, which were installed in all possible locations in late 2014.

To continue promoting energy efficiency in our facilities with the latest technology, we work with the Food Service Technology Center.

Water Conservation

R&DE Stanford Dining works closely with Campus Utilities to identify opportunities and technologies to reduce our water consumption. For example, in response to the California drought we have switched all hand washing sinks to 0.5 gpm low-flow aerators. Additional efforts include using water efficient dishwashers, low-flow spray nozzles, and greywater utilization in our pulpers.

Reusable Beverage Containers

R&DE Stanford Dining provides reusable water bottles to all incoming freshmen and transfer students to help reduce disposable bottled beverage consumption on campus. Students can use these containers to receive discounts at select campus cafés. To encourage healthy beverage consumption, we also provide fruit and herb-infused spa water in all dining halls and at special events sponsored by R&DE Stanford Dining.