Your University Dining Services team is dedicated to sustainability. We know we can all work together to make a positive impact right here at Minnesota State University, Mankato. In addition to the many initiatives outlined in the Better Tomorrow Plan by Sodexo, our local teams have implemented the following programs specific to campus:
We work hard to get as many ingredients locally as possible. Our professionally-trained chefs write our menus to take advantage of the fresh fruits and vegetables that are naturally in season.
Bix Produce Company is the leader in specialty produce distribution throughout the Twin Cities metro area, greater Minnesota, Western Wisconsin, and Fargo, ND. They provide the finest quality bulk and pre-cut fruits and vegetables, dairy, and related food items to food service operators including restaurants, hotels, educational institutions, and country clubs.
Bix’s sustainability efforts include purchasing locally grown produce from Minnesota farmers. As a customer of Bix we are provided with a weekly update from the Food Alliance Midwest of locally grown available produce. Organic fruits and vegetables are also available to us through Bix.
University Dining Services is proud to be a trayless dining center in the Carkoski Commons Dining Hall. What this means is that we are committed to a sizable reduction in food waste and water use. Over the course of an entire school year, we save an estimated 65,856 pounds of food and conserve an estimated 238,336 gallons of water.
Trayless dining was introduced in 2012 as an initiative to raise awareness for water conservation. Carkoski Commons featured Trayless Tuesdays during this initiative. After a successful trial period, your Resident Hall Association voted to implement Trayless Dining as a daily practice.
Environmentally Friendly Packaging
Sodexo currently partners with Excellent Packaging Systems (EPS), a vendor specializing in environmentally sustainable packaging, offering compostable, biodegradable and recyclable product lines. Their exclusive BioMass Packaging® FoodService Disposables Program is the most comprehensive sustainable packaging program available in North America.
- Spudware: Bio-based high heat tolerant, compostable cutlery made from plant starch.
- BagasseWare: Pulp-based Paper packaging derived from plant fibers, either grown or recovered as crop residue.
- EATware: Sturdy disposable food containers made from bamboo, rice or sugar cane and corn starches.
- Natureworks: Clear food containers made from vegetable plastic, manufactured from corn grown in the USA.
- Ecotainer: Paper hot cups and soup containers made with PLA lining making them compostable.
The environmental impact by replacing Styrofoam products with eco-friendly 100% compostable products is dramatic. Before switching to Eco-friendly products we used a total of 23,070 Styrofoam cups in our retail locations on campus during just one semester. By switching to an Ecotainer cup, lid and straw, we will have an impact on our landfills and reduce our carbon footprint at Minnesota State University, Mankato considerably.
Campus Kitchen Project (Anti-Hunger Efforts)
The Campus Kitchens Project empowers thousands of college students to recycle food from their cafeterias, turn these donations into nourishing meals and deliver those meals to those who need them most. The project also opens up on-campus kitchen space to teach culinary skills to unemployed men and women, who in turn help students learn about poverty and stereotypes.
To date, The Campus Kitchens Project has provided more than 500,000 meals, serving an average of 2,500 meals each month
The Campus Kitchen Project (CKP) is a groundbreaking initiative that brings colleges and universities together with student volunteers, on campus dining service professionals, and community organizations to combat hunger in cities across the United States. www.mnsu.edu/activities/kitchen/
Sodexo is the founding founder of the The Campus Kitchens Project, a nation-wide program offering college students a chance to serve their communities.
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