Food Waste Management

We use several approaches to mitigate waste:

  • Heilman Dining Center operates on a 4-week cycle, which enables us to measure and monitor waste so that we can adjust food production for the next cycle.
  • Heilman Dining Center practices LeanPath to measure and prevent food waste.
  • We practice portion control measures on the serving line at Heilman Dining Center.
  • All locations offer compostable utensils and napkins made from recyclable content.
  • We prioritize purchasing local and sustainable items that can be cross utilized in different menus or shared between dining locations across campus. We also utilize a versatile procurement model that allows us to purchase both bulk and on-the-spot so that we aren’t overstocked. For example, fruit, vegetables, and bread are delivered daily, as needed, while items we use consistently, like flour and sugar, are purchased in bulk.

Much of the food waste we experience in the Heilman Dining Center comes from the post-consumer side of the tray return. The food added to the tray return by customers is composted. In 2020, Heilman Dining Center went trayless, which has reduced food waste by 200+ pounds and water consumption by 1,200 gallons each day.

For over a decade University of Richmond Dining Services has partnered with the Caritas Center to make the best use of underutilized or perishable items that are going out of date. A pick-up is made by Caritas as items are available, typically once a week. In our retail locations, managers often organize donations to local food pantries or bring pre-made items to sell late-night at ETC.