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Food Service

Cafeterias include several operations and materials that result in the generation of waste that can pollute the environment.  Listed below are best management practices that can be implemented to minimize the amount of energy and resources that are used in the cafeteria facilities.

Used Cooking Oil

  • Containerized used oil and keep separate from other waste.
  • Label all containers to indicate the contents.
  • Never store used oil in anything other than tanks and storage containers.
  • Have sorbent materials available on hand to control any leaks or spills.
  • If any oil spills into the sanitary drain immediately contact Hazardous Materials Management.

Grease Traps

Oil, fats, and grease in the wastewater can clog the inside of drainpipes.  Grease traps are designed to retain fats and oils, allowing the cleaner portion of wastewater to be discharged into the drain lines.  Grease trap maintenance is essential to reduce the discharge of fats, oils and grease into the wastewater collection system.  Here are some best management practices for grease trap maintenance:

  • Do not use hot water, acids, caustics, solvents or emulsifying agents when cleaning grease traps.
  • Bail out any water in the trap to facilitate cleaning.
  • Dip the accumulated grease out of the interceptor and deposit in a watertight container.
  • Scrape the sides, the lid and the baffles with a putty knife to remove as much of the grease as possible, and deposit the grease into a watertight container.
  • Contact a hauler or recycler for grease pick-up.
  • Replace the baffle and the lid.
  • Record the date and the volume of grease removed on a maintenance log.

Refrigeration Units / Freon

Refrigeration units contain refrigerants called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).  CFCs are considered by the EPA to be an environmental hazard that destroys the ozone by released chlorine.  Listed below are best management practices to mitigate air pollution and enhance energy efficiency:    

  • Locate refrigerators away from heat sources, such as a radiator or dishwasher and  maintain a couple of inches of space around the sides of the appliance.
  • Ensure refrigerator doors are sealing properly.
  • Regularly defrost manual-defrost refrigerators and freezers to increase energy efficiency.
  • Vacuum condenser coils annually to improve operational efficiency.  
  • Clean refrigerator condensers every three months.

Recycling

Recycling is the separation, collection, and processing of products and materials, and the manufacture of these materials into new products.  Recycling can drastically reduce waste, cut your garbage hauling costs, and generate additional revenues.  The following best management practices for recycling are recommended:

  • Provide separate waste bins for separate waste streams, i.e. place a waste bin for aluminum cans next to high use regular trash bins.
  • Place a newspaper recycling bin near the cafeteria exits.
  • Use reusable trays, cups and silverware instead of disposable items.  
  • When using disposable goods, use paper plates and napkins made from recycled goods.
  • Use paper bags instead of plastic/styrofoam sandwich containers.
  • Initiate a composting program for the food waste that is generated in food service establishments on campus.
  • Advertise on campus which waste is to be recycled.
  • Make the collection process as easy as possible for students, faculty and staff to enhance the participation rate.  Place recycling containers in a convenient location near the non-recyclable bins.
  • Post signs to identify recycling containers and their intended contents.
  • Buy food products in bulk instead of individually packaged. 

Green Procurement

Green procurement is the purchase of environmentally preferable product and services which work as well or better than traditional products and may save money.  Environmentally preferred products are less toxic and can increase worker safety.  They use materials such as biodegradable plastic bags, which saves landfill space.  Listed below are best management practices toward sustaining Green Procurement:

  • Buy supplies and items that are durable, reusable, and recyclable.
  • Procure supplies and items that are non-toxic and made with recycled content.
  • Specify that purchased items be delivered in bulk or with minimal packaging.
  • Identify environmentally preferable products that meet basic quality specifications.
  • Establish environmental screening for all new purchases.
  • Donate excess/leftover food to area homeless shelters and soup kitchens.
  • Establish composting programs for food wastes that cannot be donated.
  • Encourage water and energy conservation by employees.
  • Maximize energy efficiency in lighting, heating and cooling facilities.
  • Use the least toxic cleaning materials and buy them in bulk.
  • Inform students, faculty and staff about sustainable efforts and encourage them to participate.
  • Provide recycling opportunities to members of the public that visit the facility.
  • Implement water and energy saving mechanisms in the facility.

Energy-Saving Applicances

The use of energy-saving appliances is important in the environmental arena.  Use appliances that meet certain energy efficiency standards and are labeled with energy efficiency labels, for example, the yellow EnergyGuide label or the ENERGYSTAR label.  Listed below are some energy-saving tips:

Refrigerators

  • Clean refrigerator condensers every three months.
  • Maintain refrigerator temperatures between 37°F and 40°F and freezer temperatures between 0°F and 5°F.
  • Regularly defrost manual-defrost refrigerators and freezers.
  • Ensure refrigerator doors are sealing properly. 
  • Cover liquids and wrap foods stored in the refrigerator.
  • Vacuum condenser coils annually to improve operational efficiency.
  • Locate refrigerators away from heat sources, such as a radiator or dishwasher and in such a manner that allows a couple of inches of space around the sides.
  • Ensure refrigerator doors are sealing properly.
  • Adjust the setting to provide maximum energy savings without causing condensation on the outside of the unit.
  • Thaw frozen food inside the refrigerator rather than thawing in an oven or microwave.
  • Let food cool before putting it in the refrigerator so it won't have to work so hard to keep the food cool.
  • Organize the contents in the refrigerator to ensure good air circulation around the items.
  • Keep freezers full; full freezers perform better than nearly empty ones.

Ranges and Ovens

  • Clean ovens while they are still warm.
  • Cook as many things at once as possible.
  • Use microwaves when possible, instead of conventional electric cooking methods.
  • Preheat ovens only when necessary, and keep the preheating time to a minimum.
  • Use glass or ceramic pans in ovens to allow for lower cooking temperatures.
  • Ensure the oven door gasket is tight.
  • Keep range-top burners and reflectors clean.
  • Match the size of the pan to the heating element.
  • On electric stovetops, use only flat-bottomed pans that make full contact with the element.

Dishwashers

  • Pre-rinse dishes with cold water before putting them in the dishwasher.
  • Periodically clean the dishwasher filter to improve efficiency.
  • If the dishwasher has a "sani" setting or booster heater, reduce the temperature on the hot water tank to about 120°F to reduce overall water heating costs.
  • Load dishwashers to capacity before running them.