We work together to continually develop and implement sustainable solutions. Through Green Thread, our environmental sustainability platform, we bring innovative and efficient solutions to life. We are passionately focused on reducing the environmental impact within our operations. 

Here are just a few ways we work to make our campus more environmentally conscious:

  • Sustainable Food
  • Responsible Procurement
  • Waste Management
  • Energy & Water Conservation
  • Education & Awareness
  • Community


  • Sustainable Food: Local, Organic, Sustainably Certified, Natural, etc.


    Below is a list of CMU Campus Dining's sustainable efforts in the category of Sustainable Food.

    100% of coffee and espresso at the Java City Coffee House in the Park Library is certified sustainable, ensuring that farms and co-ops meet rigorous standards for protecting the earth, supporting their communities and creating goodwill among their workers.

    We serve Folgers Coffee in all four Residential Restaurants. Folgers (part of the J.M. Smucker Co.) is committed to "improving the lives of the farmers who have grown their coffee for generations."

    Our Retail Locations offer a wide variety of natural and organic products purchased from United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI) - the largest publicly traded distributor of natural and organic products in the United States.

    Serve local Michigan produce and other goods manufactured in Michigan whenever possible, based on seasonality and availability.

    Purchase hormone-free dairy products from (Michigan) farmers through Prairie Farms Dairy.

    Aunt Millie's, with bakeries in Coldwater, Jackson, Kalamazoo and Plymouth, Michigan, supplies breads and buns utilized in all our locations.

    Hot Dogs and Sausage products are purchased from Kent Foods, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

    Our Ice Cream is Michigan-made Country Fresh.

    Kellogg's cereals, Morning Star Farms products, and ice cream cones produced in Battle Creek, Michigan, are served in all locations.

    We hand-dip a variety of fried food items, utilizing Drake's batter mix, produced in Marshall, Michigan.

    Great Lakes Chips, produced in Traverse City, Michigan are served at all four Residential Deli Stations, and utilized in our Meals2Go program.

    We have a strong partnership with our primary food provider, Gordon Food Service (GFS), a Grand Rapids, Michigan based company, dedicated to energy conservation and transportation efficiency, ensuring our purchasing program is aligned with our commitment to sustainability and food safety.

    Much of our produce is purchased through a GFS partnership with Markon Cooperative, known for their 5-Star Food Safety Audit Program, and comes from several farms around the state of Michigan. Some of these farms include River Ridge Farms in Sparta, Skibbe Farms in Benton Harbor, Barry Creek Farms in Saginaw and Dreyer Farms in Allendale. GFS recently partnered with Pearson Foods to help connect with farmers in close proximity to the GFS distribution centers. Their goal is to assist GFS in maintaining their sourcing efficiencies while procuring items from local farms. This will give us additional opportunities to expand our purchases of local products whenever possible.

    We use Cage Free Shell Eggs in all our Residential Restaurants and in the Down Under Food Court, (when available). These eggs come from the Amish/Mennonite farms in north-central Ohio. Cage Free Liquid Eggs will be utilized in all our Residential Restaurants starting in the Fall 2019.

    Many of our Seafood products are approved by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program and Marine Stewardship Council www.msc.org/. In April, 2016, all locations switched to a hook and line caught Albacore Tuna and no longer purchase/use the purse-seine netted skip jack tuna.

    All four Residential Restaurants utilize Zoye Fryer Oil for deep-frying needs. Zoye is 100% soybean oil, and is produced by Zeeland Food Services, Michigan's largest food grade oil refinery and a family-owned business with a strong commitment to sustainability.

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    Responsible Procurement: Environmentally Sensitive Purchasing Decisions


    Below is a list of CMU Campus Dining’s sustainable efforts in the category of Responsible Procurement.

    Reusable bags are available for purchase in the P.O.D. Market.

    Our Meals 2 Go containers are recyclable and disposable packaging for Meals 2 Go sides are made from Ingeo (tm) a 100% renewable material made from plants and compostable in municipal and industrial composting facilities. www.pactiv.com/products

    All Styrofoam products, stored in the Residential Restaurants in the event of a dish machine malfunction, have been eliminated and replaced with paper products, and products manufactured from plants and modified with starch www.pactiv.com/products. Retail locations and the Catering department are also using similar products and have reduced the use of plastic and foam.

    Office Paper purchased for printers and copiers is 30% post-consumer content, and vegetable ink is used wherever possible.

    Other paper products, such as toilet tissue, facial tissue, paper towels and napkins are produced from 100% recycled materials www.gfs.com/en/products-our-brands/array.page.

    Recycled toners and printer cartridges are used in all Campus Dining Office areas.

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    Waste Management: RecycleMania, Zero Waste, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Composting


    Below is a list of CMU Campus Dining’s sustainable efforts in the category of Waste Management.

    Meal Plans and FLEX ordering are available through ecommerce to reduce paper waste www.cmucampusdining.com. Meals2Go online ordering was implemented in Fall 2016 - also reducing paper waste.

    Tray-less Dining is featured in our Residential Restaurants to conserve water and energy, reduce the amount of chemicals used and minimize food waste. Waste was reduced 33% after going tray-less in the fall 2008 semester.

    Our Java City locations provide recycle bins and signage to encourage recycling of coffee jackets.

    Our napkin holders across campus are one-at-a-time style and napkins are imprinted "Save the environment - one napkin at a time - made with 100% recycled material", minimizing waste.

    A recycling program is in full force at all locations across campus. Campus Dining recycles cardboard, office paper, register receipts, newspapers, magazines, glass, plastic, aluminum, batteries, light bulbs, Styrofoam, shrink wrap and other plastic packaging*, toners, and print cartridges. *In Spring 2017, all Residential Restaurants and University Center operations, in partnership with Facilities Management, started recycling all clear plastic packaging materials-shrink wrap, plastic bags, etc. These materials are collected, baled, and sold to Petoskey Plastics -- an "environmentally focused film, bag, and resin manufacturer" with a manufacturing plant in Petoskey, MI. Currently all Campus Dining locations are purchasing their can liners that are 70% post-consumer content-bringing this concept full-circle.

    CMU Campus Dining, in partnership with Facilities Management, has participated in Recyclemania - a national recycling competition since 2008.

    All Retail locations offer a discount for guests who bring in a reusable mug.

    Our "Joe to Grow" program in Java City locations features complimentary coffee grounds to our guests to use for composting and fertilizing purposes.

    Campus Dining has provided used fryer oil to the CMU Chemistry Department for a pilot bio-diesel fuel production program.

    Currently, our remaining used fryer oil is diverted to 100% sustainable use by Darling International, a Michigan based company. We ensure maximum life of our fryer oil through daily filtering and educating our staff in proper handling of the oil.

    In March, 2010, Campus Dining, in partnership with the Student Environmental Alliance, Facilities Management and Recycling Coordinators started up a pilot composting program. In the fall of 2010, all four Residential Restaurants partnered with Facilities Management and provided pre-consumer waste to be composted. The composting program expanded to include the Catering Kitchen, Down Under Food Court, Goodies to Go, and Starbucks in January 2012. Both Java City locations also compost coffee grounds on a regular basis.

    Zero Waste - In March, 2012, Robinson Residential Restaurant, in partnership with Facilities Management and Future Organics, conducted a Zero Waste Pilot program for 8 weeks, composting ALL food products, including plate waste, paper and wax coated cardboard. These products were taken to composting facilities, primarily to Morgan Composting, located in Sears, Michigan, where they were processed, and utilized for several programs: the manufacture of organic fertilizer, or the creation of a natural gas alternative to be used directly as fuel, or for the production of electricity. In the 8 week pilot, we reduced our landfill waste from 86% of the total of compost waste and landfill combined, to 5.9% of the total of landfill and compost waste combined. During the month of April, our waste weighed 7.71 tons. .46 ton went to a landfill, and 7.25 tons was diverted to compost so 94% of the total tonnage of waste was diverted.

    Zero Waste goes campus wide - in April, 2013, both Merrill Residential Restaurant and Robinson Residential Restaurant partnered with Facilities Management and Future Organics to conduct another pilot zero waste program. The dumpsters were removed from both sites, and replaced with Compost Tanks. The minimal amount of landfill trash, consisting of plastic wrapping materials, plastic gloves and plastic that is not accepted by the Material Recovery Facility, was put in a landfill dumpster used by Residents in the halls near the loading docks of the two buildings. During the month of April, the two locations composted 27,000 pounds of food waste - pre and post-consumer -, cardboard and paper products. The program was expanded to include FFCo - Woldt Residential Restaurant, RFoC - Carey Residential Restaurant. In December 2014, Future Organics sold the company and the zero waste program was put on hold until a new procedure was developed.

    A new Zero Waste program was tested in June 2015 and is in effect at the four Residential Restaurants, University Center operations and Java City Coffee Shops. In June 2015, CMU Facilities Management purchased a dump trailer with a hydraulic lift and compost collection bins. The Cascade bins are made in Grand Rapids, Michigan - Cascade Cart Solutions. All food waste, including plate waste, paper and wax coated cardboard is collected in the Cascade bins at each loading dock. CMU Facilities staff empties the bins into the dump trailer three times a week and hauls it to Morgan Composting in Sears, Michigan where they create Dairy Doo. In the fall of 2015, our Zero Waste program went full circle. Morgan Composting tested the soil in several areas on campus and custom-made a soil treatment using Campus Dining Waste, along with other organic ingredients and it was spread in areas on campus. This concept is ongoing.

    In the 2018-2019 academic year, a pizza box composting program was implemented in the Down Under Food Court and in the residence halls. In the Down Under Food Court a labeled bin is now available in the waste disposal area for guests to deposit their pizza boxes. In the residence halls, students collect pizza boxes in compostable bags and deliver them to the compost bin areas, located at the loading docks of the four residential restaurants, where they are picked up by Facilities Management and taken to Morgan Composting.

    We are currently partnering with Facilities Management in composting food and paper product waste at athletic events with a future goal of achieving zero waste at these events.

    All Residential Restaurants eliminated the use of sugar and creamer packets/cups, and currently use reusable sugar shakers, and creamer in recyclable containers.

    All Residential Restaurants use reusable salt and pepper shakers.

    Some Residential Locations are using reusable Evo Spray Bottles for cooking oils in operations, reducing the use of aerosol cans.

    In 2014-2017, Central Michigan University was recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency for our composting efforts and significant reduction in food waste in the "Food Recovery Challenge".

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    Energy & Water Conservation: Reduction, Technical Solutions, Renewable Energy, etc.


    Below is a list of CMU Campus Dining's sustainable efforts in the category of Energy & Water Conservation.

    Energy efficient LED and CFL bulbs are used in all our locations where applicable. Currently we are identifying additional opportunities to switch to LED bulbs in our locations where feasible.

    Flow reduction devices installed on faucets reduced the water flow from 2.5 gallons per minute to .5 gallons per minute, and on spray heads, toilets and urinals, water flow has been reduced to 1.5 gallons per minute.

    General energy reduction and water conservation practices are in place in all of our operations, such as operating lights, equipment, hood fans, disposals, etc. only when necessary and shutting down coolers and freezers during down times.

    Facilities implemented an energy reduction plan in all kitchens during the 2010-11 academic year, installing curtains in various production areas to direct/control air flow and reduce unnecessary exhaust draw for most efficient use of energy.

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    Education and Awareness


    Below is a list of CMU Campus Dining's accomplishments towards our commitment to educate about sustainability on the campus of CMU.

    A Sustainability section is included in both our full-time and student employee hand books, ensuring our staff is aware of our Sustainability platform. We have incorporated Sustainability into our employee training programs to further educate our staff and keep them updated on our initiatives.

    We have created a Sustainability Policy Guide and developed a Sustainability Audit for all locations to ensure that we are consistently adhering to standards.

    Campus Dining has teamed up with General Mills for the Drive to Go Green and Live Green Get Green Sweepstakes.

    CMU Campus Dining participated in CMU's Education for a Sustainable Present and Future Conference in 2009 and CMU's Global Think-in, April 2010.

    Throughout Earth Week, Campus Dining has provided a variety of information (benefits of eating vegetarian, tips on how to be more sustainable and what Campus Dining has done for sustainability) and activities (Dim the Lights at Dinner, Make Your Mark thumb print posters, allowing students to Pledge to Go Green, and What's Important To Me - - encouraging students to identify what is most important to them pertaining to the environment and going green).

    Our Healthy for You program provides education on and identification of healthy options available in our locations, allowing students to make healthy, sustainable food choices.

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    Below is a list of the organizations and events that Campus Dining proudly supports as part of our community outreach. We recognize all staff members who give back to the community by participating in our Community Service Programs.

    Aramark Building Community Day

    Foster Closet of Michigan/Isabella County

    Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Great Lakes Bay Region

    Isabella Community Soup Kitchen

    United Way of Isabella County

    Special Olympics

    Community Compassion Network's Food Pantry

    CMU Student Food Pantry

    Isabella County Restoration House

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