What is Elon Dining doing to preserve the earth?

Buying Locally– Elon Dining Services supports local farmers and the community. We have implemented a preferential purchasing system that identifies local produce items and the area from which it originated. We place preference on food grown within our area, state and then region of the country, in that order. Conventional produce from around the world will still be available when an item is not in season locally so you can continue to enjoy all of nature’s bounty. Produce that is locally grown is harvested closest to its peak for a fresher, more flavorful nutrient-filled result. Buying local conserves energy and allows us to contribute to local farms and the economy. Look for locally grown markers to taste the best flavors our area has to offer, celebrate the season selections, and support the local efforts of our community.

We are also a member of the North Carolina 10% Campaign! NC 10% Campaign members pledge to purchase at least 10% of all food locally. Last year, Elon Dining purchased over 12% of the food prepared & served here on campus locally! Learn more about the NC 10% Campaign by visiting


All back of the house food waste from McEwen, Colonnades, & Lakeside Dining Halls and front of the house waste from Winter Garden Cafe & Fountain Market is composted. Dining customers can help by using the trash bins at Winter Garden Cafe and Fountain Market identified for composting. Food waste from these dining locations is sent to outside composting companies. During the 2016-2017 academic year, Dining Services composted 301,740 lbs pounds of waste from all participating dining locations. Click here to read an article about the third party company, Brooks Contractor, who collects our compost!

Compostable Take Out Containers

Take out is green at all residential dining halls. Ask for a compostable to-go container today!


Dining Services recycles plastic, paper, cardboard, and aluminum.

Coke Compostable Cups

All retail locations use the new Coke Compostable cups that are 100% compostable! Please place these in the compost bins located at Winter Garden Café and Fountain Market to increase our composting efforts.

Aluminum Water Bottles

In an effort to offer a more sustainable water option, Dining Services introduced its filtered water program in 2008. In 2009, 123,888 plastic bottles were saved from landfills thanks to your efforts with this program.

Recycled Content Materials

Grab n’ go products, such as cups, straws, and napkins and office paper have post-consumer fibers and support the environment.

Reusable Mug Program

Bring your own mug or water bottle to any campus dining facility and receive your coffee or fountain beverage for only $0.79! That’s a $0.90 savings!

Divert Fryer Oil

Dining Services recycles 100% of its used fryer oil from dining locations that can be used as biodiesel fuel. In the 2013-2014 academic year, we recycled over 1,560 gallons of fryer oil.

Trayless Dining

By eliminating trays in our dining halls, we are able to compost food waste and decrease water and energy consumption.

Recycled Plastic Bags

Special TDPA additive enables these bags to degrade, biodegrade in the presence of moisture, micro organisms, oxygen, and soil. TDPA (totally degradable plastic additives) is incorporated into commodity PE, PP and PS resins to allow final plastic products to degrade when triggered by heat, UV sunlight and mechanical stress. TDPA products can be recycled in standard recycling bins.

Recycled Content Hot Cups

These cups feature 10% post consumer fiber, an innovative and food safe material. The cups meet our quality standards and will simultaneously help the environment! Using a 10% post-consumer fiber cup will help reduce the use of virgin tree fiber by five million pounds in one year alone, the equivalent of 75,000 trees!

Fair Trade Coffee

Fair Trade Coffee is sold at ALL retail locations on campus and Elon Catering. Elon Dining Services recognizes the need for social and environmental responsibility towards farm workers, our customers, and our communities. That is why we have implemented the Fair Trade Coffee program at our We Proudly Brew Starbucks locations, the Eco-Grounds program at the Java City @ KBC, and Port City Java available through Elon Catering. Benefits of these programs for coffee farmers mean community development, health, education, and environmental stewardship.

Bulk Dispensers

Bulk dispensers are used when practical to reduce packaging. Products available in bulk include juices, sodas, milk, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, BBQ sauce, and most cereals.

Recyclemania and Earth Day

Dining Services participates in Recyclemania, a 10-week annual competition among colleges and universities nationwide, and supports and hosts Earth Day Events on campus to spread awareness and environmental responsibility.


Food management software ensures that Dining Services forecasts accurately to match food production to consumption. Topio’s, Freshii, Biscuitville, and Argo Tea use electronic menu boards rather than paper menus in an effort to reduce paper consumption and waste.

China, Flatware, and Glasses

We use china, flatware, and glasses in residential campus dining locations that are washed and sanitized for reuse reducing the amount of paper packaging.

Reusable Cleaning Cloths

Sanitized reusable cleaning cloths are used to clean our locations rather than paper products.