At UNH Dining we believe it is everyone's responsibility to support their local community in whatever way they can. For our part, we strive to incorporate sustainable initiatives in every aspect of our daily operation and use local products from local producers whenever possible. Opportunities to improve how we work in relation to the community and environment are constantly emerging. Our goal is to evolve continuously with those opportunities in an effort to preserve those things that make New Hampshire such a special place.
To continually improve the sustainability of our operations, UNH Dining sets specific objectives we work toward on an annual basis.
UNH Dining Ongoing Sustainability Plan
- Develop and implement an improved tracking system for sustainable food purchases
- In order to support sustainable food purchases, amend RFPs for distributors to include preferences regarding supplier traceability and sourcing flexibility
- Partner with the UNH Sustainability Institute to increase local and regional produce procurement by enhancing or developing new relationships with farms, food hubs, and/or distributors
- Continue pursuing innovative strategies to reduce red meat and increase fruit, vegetable, and whole grain purchases
Certified Green Restaurants®
Both UNH Dining Halls, Holloway Commons and Philbrook Hall, have earned 4 out of 4 stars certification by the Green Restaurant Association® and we are so proud of this achievement! This makes UNH one of only two universities in the U.S. where all dining halls have 4 stars. Additionally, the UNH Dairy Bar and UNH Conferences and Catering are 3-Star Certified Green Restaurant®.
Through continued sustainability efforts, waste elimination, energy conservation, and extensive recycling, the dining halls and UNH Dairy Bar were able to meet the requirements for this honor. Some of the sustainability measures that the Green Restaurant Association focused on include:
- Conservation of energy
- Reducing water usage and food waste
- Vegetarian and vegan food options
- Using more reusables and environmentally friendly disposables
- Environmentally friendly buildings and furniture
To find out more information about the Green Restaurant Association and the certification details for the locations click on the links below.
Green Restaurant Association
Holloway Commons at the University of New Hampshire has been officially upgraded to a 4-Star Certified Green Restaurant® from its previous two-star status through the Green Restaurant Association, (GRA). This major achievement was a result of the culture of sustainability that permeates the UNH campus; UNH is home to the first Office of Sustainability at a public college or university in the country.
From apples right off the tree and squash from the fields at UNH Woodman Farm to coffee roasted two miles from campus, UNH Hospitality Services is committed to buying locally. Food waste is turned into compostable pulp that is reused at UNH’s Kingman Farm. UNH Hospitality has also invested in energy-efficient and Energy Star-rated equipment.
The Green Restaurant Association's mission is to create an environmentally sustainable restaurant industry. They partner with some of the largest distributors, manufacturers, and restaurant corporations to implement these changes on a larger scale. Working with the Green Restaurant Association added focus and support to direct considerable efforts.
Holloway Commons needed to reach minimum standards in six environmental categories to achieve a 1-star certification. In 2016, Holloway exceeded the minimum and received two stars. In 2018, Holloway continued to go above and beyond and received three stars from the Green Restaurant Association. Now, in 2023, Holloway Commons has achieved the highest level of 4-star certification.
You can review their environmental report card at https://www.dinegreen.com/g/REST12137.
Philbrook Dining Hall at the University of New Hampshire is a 4-Star Certified Green Restaurant®.
Philbrook proudly offers quality service, an allergen-friendly station, and everyday green operations. Guests have peace of mind knowing that the reusable dishes are eliminating waste from landfills. Plastic, glass, aluminum, paper, and cardboard are all disposed of through Waste Management. Many vendors, such as Fantini Bakery and North Coast Seafood use returnable packaging.
By taking steps such as; sourcing local food, conserving energy by using high-efficiency mercury-free lightbulbs, minimizing water usage, and having recycled paper products, Philbrook Hall earned the 4-Star achievement. This achievement coincides with the University’s continued sustainability efforts.
You can review their environmental report card at https://www.dinegreen.com/g/REST12139.
Through continued sustainability efforts, waste elimination, energy conservation, and extensive recycling, the UNH Dairy Bar has proudly become a 3-Star Certified Green Restaurant®. The UNH Dairy Bar has excelled in categories such as water efficiency, waste reduction, sustainable food choices, and chemical and pollution reduction, as per the Green Restaurant Association's stringent standards.
The environmental practices of this establishment are not just empty claims. The Dairy Bar proudly boasts 224.27 GreenPoints™ which reflects our commitment to various aspects of sustainability, from waste reduction to water efficiency and more.
You can review their environmental report card at https://www.dinegreen.com/g/REST12141.
UNH Conferences and Catering has earned a 3-star certification from the Green Restaurant Association®. This accomplishment signifies their commitment to sustainable practices that benefit both the planet and the community it serves.
UNH Conferences and Catering proudly meets the very stringent standards set by the Green Restaurant Association. They have shown their commitment to sustainability in several key sustainability categories, including water efficiency, waste reduction, sustainable food practices, and measures to reduce chemicals and pollution. Additionally, they have a strict policy against polystyrene foam products.
Earning 214.86 GreenPoints™, UNH Conferences and Catering brings eco-friendliness to your festive celebrations.
You can review their environmental report card at https://www.dinegreen.com/g/REST12142
'Take Less, Waste Less' campaign
Did you know that approximately 40% of the food in the United States is wasted annually? Please help UNH Dining reduce waste! Take Less, Waste Less.
This initiative hopes to bring conscious awareness of food waste generated within the dining halls by our guests with the goal of reducing unconsumed food for the betterment of the environment. Currently, over 2 ounces of food pulp or ground up food waste, is generated per guest per visit. Our goal is to reduce that amount through a variety of g strategies utilizing the simple, but powerful slogan “Take Less, Waste Less” which highlights the critical role guests play in controlling the amount of food waste generated. The Take Less, Waste Less campaign will run throughout the academic year as Dining’s commitment to reduce unnecessary food waste. Watch video for more information or read about UNH Dining's food waste campaign.
With the exception of Holloway Commons, all UNH Dining Services venues have gone trayless. When guests use plates without trays, the amount of waste decreases significantly. Research shows that when trays are removed from dining locations, less food is wasted, less energy is consumed, and the amount of water and detergents used decreases. Trays are available upon request in all locations. To help with portion control and reducing waste at all Dining halls guests can select a colorful Wildcat Plate to use for plating their food selections. The plate provides food group guidance for healthy meal choices and acts as a reminder to be mindful of nutrition and health.
UNH was the first university in the nation to sign the "Agreement of Intention and Collaboration" linked to the International Slow Food Association. In May of 2006, UNH signed the International Slow Food Principles " ... for the purpose of creating a worldwide network of universities and research institutions linked to the International Slow Food Association." These principles include " ... protection of agricultural biodiversity, support of the rights of peoples to self-determination with regard to food and education of civilized society and training of workers in the food and agricultural sector."
UNH takes pride in supporting the local economy including fishermen. UNH Dining is currently sourcing 28% of their overall seafood purchases from local source. For an overview of the seafood program, read the complete case study by Fine Farm to Institution New England.
For the purpose of creating a worldwide network of college and university food services linked to the International Slow Fish campaign, and to encourage community-based models of seafood purchasing, the following is agreed upon:
AGREEMENT OF INTENTIONS AND COLLABORATION BETWEEN SLOW FISH INTERNATIONAL (Slow Fish) and UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE DINING SERVICES (UNH Dining)
Provided that each party shall pursue the following objectives within their own organization and with the methods most appropriate to their means:
- We will actively support the local fishing community by procuring and serving local seafood to the students and guests of the University of New Hampshire
- We will commit to purchasing seasonal & available products from local fisheries; when capable of meeting demands, ‘in-state’ products shall be our preference
- We will negotiate prices that are mutually beneficial for the local fishing community and UNH Dining Services in order to create a truly viable local market
- We will support local processors that uphold systems of traceability and honesty in labeling and are duly licensed and inspected by the jurisdiction in which they operate
- We will commit to the inclusion of abundant but under-utilized species of fish, which are being caught in local waters in an effort to drive market value
- We will commit to education, so that students and guests of UNH Dining can increase their awareness regarding local seafood and become active consumers that will support the products and practices of the local fishing community
Slow Fish is an International campaign by:
Slow Food International
Via della Mendicità Istruita, 14 – 12042 Bra (Cn) – Italy
Tel. +39 0172 419611 – Fax +39 0172 414498
UNH Dining works collaboratively with academic departments to support student internship programs and is working with the University to formulate an Eco-Gastronomy dual major.
Food waste pulpers and compost program
UNH Dining has invested in food waste pulpers that take food waste and turn it into a pulp that is easily composted. UNH Dining also manages the pickup and delivery for the program which includes campus and town of Durham locations.
Support of the campus biodiesel initiative
UNH Dining and the New England Center have invested in waste oil collection systems that allow cooking oils to be saved and retrieved for conversion into Biodiesel Fuel. The fuel is used on campus to power farm equipment and heat campus greenhouses. UNH Dining also manages the collection and delivery of the waste oil.
We have partnered with the Purchasing and Energy Office to identify Energy Star and other efficient equipment. To date we have implemented measures including:
- Low-flow faucets and more efficient lighting.
- Air-cooled refrigeration used almost exclusively, as opposed to water-cooled which reduces water usage.
- Smaller plates are used at the dining halls to assist with less plate waste.
- To support the Green Certified Cleaning Program we utilize non-caustic washing chemicals and other environmentally friendly cleaning products provided by EcoLab.
UNH Dining has replaced 17 traditional urinals with waterless urinals that will eventually save an estimated 765,000 gallons of water per year and $20,000 in annual water and sewer costs. Because the new urinals eliminate flush valves, maintenance costs are also reduced.
As part of the Food and Society Initiative, the Compost Program employs a viable and effective alternative to adding food waste to the wastewater stream or landfill where it remains a waste product. The compost process closes the food cycle and returns the valuable soil enriching nutrients in food and other organic waste to the soil. When returned to the land, finished compost improves soil texture, water-holding capacity and increases nutrient levels.
Recycling and waste reduction
All cardboard, cans, plastic containers and office paper are recycled each day. Discount beverage prices are given in our retail locations when customers use a reusable mug.
New Hampshire Food Alliance
The New Hampshire Food Alliance brings together the many diverse organizations, businesses, and individuals working to strengthen the food system across New Hampshire. By collaborating and learning from each other, we share knowledge and resources, reduce redundancy, and achieve greater collective impact throughout the state.