Sustainability Commitments

UChicago Dining works to reduce our environmental footprint while developing programs that promote sustainability through environmentally friendly products and practices, sustainable food and local purchasing options, energy and water conservation efforts, and waste management.

Sustainable Food Procurement

  • We emphasize fresh whole foods that are raised, grown, harvested, and produced locally or sustainably wherever possible. Thirty to forty percent of our purchases are from minority- or women-owned businesses, and/or businesses within the following zip codes: 60609, 60615, 60616, 60619, 60621, 60637, 60649, and 60653.
  • We align with the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program, which ensures responsible purchasing to help preserve oceans and promote the use of sustainable seafood.
  • Most of the bread in the residential dining commons is purchased from Alpha Baking Company, a Chicago business, or made from scratch in our on-campus commissary kitchen.
  • The majority of our milk is purchased from Lamers Dairy Inc. in Appleton, WI.
  • We work closely with Cristina Foods, to purchase locally grown, seasonal produce.
  • Cheese purchases are made from Harmony Specialty Dairy Foods in Stratford, WI.
  • 100 percent of our eggs are cage-free, including pre-cracked and liquid eggs.
  • 100 percent of the ground beef served in our cafés are sourced from suppliers whose practices have been certified by Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC)’s Certified Humane program, Animal Welfare Approved, Food Alliance, or Global Animal Partnership. The ground beef comes from animals fed a vegetarian diet, and are never given antibiotics or artificial hormones.
  • 100 percent of the pork we serve comes from sows raised in higher-welfare group housing, without unnecessary reliance on cruel gestation crate confinement systems and are never given antibiotics or growth promoters.
  • We commit to a Low Carbon Lifestyle by prioritizing plant-based proteins and are dedicated to trimming transportation and decreasing deforestation.
  • We offer fair trade coffee and tea options in most of our cafes and residential dining commons.
  • We support local MWBE (Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises), including Cristina Foods, Saffron, Inc.,Flùr Bakeshop, Phoenix Bean, Capannari Ice Cream, and Noodles, Etc.

Waste Management

  • We divert 100 percent of used fryer oil waste from the landfill through Filtafry, Inc.
  • Café Manager, our food production system, helps our chefs and managers to accurately plan a menu and provide the kitchen staff with exact portion sizes and additional guidelines for reducing waste. 
  • Our “tray inconvenience” program in the residential dining commons leads to less food being wasted and fewer dishes being put through the wash cycle.
  • All food scraps from the residential dining commons are put into an Eco-Digester.