UGA Dining Services takes environmental sustainability very seriously and advocates the concepts of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle in all campus food services operations. Dining Services has been a long time campus advocate of these concepts. Dining Services was recognized with the 2003 Community Champion award for its support feeding the homeless in the community. Dining Services also composts food waste from its dining commons, retail, and catering operations. Some of our other initiatives are:


  • Our dining commons use trash pulper systems to drastically reduce the volume of paper and food waste sent to local landfills. The use of these systems also dramatically reduces water usage in trash disposal systems
  • We consolidate the majority of our deliveries to a central food storage facility, which reduces delivery truck traffic on campus
  • Napkins are placed on tables instead of at silverware stations. Since implementing this practice we estimate napkin consumption on campus has reduced by 50%
  • We purchase products with minimum packing (ex. pouched vs. canned products)
  • Installing timers on lighting
  • Specifying energy efficient replacement equipment
  • Use of energy efficient lighting
  • Use of electric hand dryers in lieu of paper towels in public restrooms
  • Plastic to-go bags were eliminated from all dining locations
  • To eliminate Styrofoam from the unit, Panda Express uses 8x8 inch compostable fiber containers
  • Reduction of water use - Example: We have annually reduced water use at Snelling Dining Commons by 38.9%
  • Reduction of plastic waste in the community with "Hydration Stations" for refilling water bottles
  • Dining Services reduced its water usage in 2008 by 2.05 million gallons of water through conservation efforts. Since then, we have maintained this sustainable practice
  • Dining Services promotes sustainability by purchasing regional produce and food products when available


  • Our dining commons use permanent dishes, glassware, and flatware, eliminating the need for disposable products
  • Dining Services is also a major contributor to both the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia and Full Plate. The Food Bank recovers donated and salvaged surplus food and distributes it to human-service agencies. Full Plate distribute prepared food to local charities that operate emergency shelters, food pantries, after-school programs and soup kitchens in the Athens area


  • In all of our facilities, we recycle our office supplies, cardboard, glass, plastic and metal cans. New employees are taught the procedures and value of recycling.
  • Pizza Boxes at the Niche Pizza Co are collected and recycled through a partnership with the Office of Sustainability. 
  • Bins for recycling cardboard, newspapers, plastic, and aluminum are provided in many of our facilities
  • All used cooking oil is sent off to be recycled
  • We recycle all of our ink jet and toner cartridges
  • We purchase office paper with a minimum 30% recycled content
  • Providing on campus collection sites for recycling cardboard, newspapers, plastic and aluminum
  • Eco-friendly disposable service ware is used in our retail food courts