Sustainability Results for Notre Dame Food Services 2011

Author: Lisa Wenzel

Notre Dame Food Services is proud to announce many accomplishments from the past academic year in the area of sustainability.  We continue to make great strides in waste reduction and sustainable purchasing.

Over the course of the 2010-2011 academic year, the amount of trash that we discarded decreased by another 16% in our largest dining hall.  This is after a reduction of over 50% from the 2008-2009 year. This can be attributed to continually increasing recycling efforts and our work to dispose of food waste through the water treatment system where it is considered composted.  

This year our major accomplishment to reduce waste came as a result of the work of the Notre Dame Student.  Students reduced the amount of food waste on their individual tray or plate.  For the first time, plate waste decreased to 3.11 oz. per person.  This decrease was dramatic considering it had been nearing 6 oz. per person.  Jim Yarbrough, Senior Associate Director of Notre Dame Food Service and Sustainability Chair attributes this success to the work of the students to encourage each other to take only what they will consume.  “We had a very active student group this year who created an environment that said don’t waste” says Yarbrough.  The challenge to the students this year is to meet or exceed this new standard.

Locally Grown

An additional success over this past year includes Notre Dame Food Services efforts to purchase sustainably.  We have focused on sustainable seafood purchases including the use of



MSC certified product purchases and local purchases which reduce transportation and often taste better.  Many of our operations were able to utilize vegetables grown in our own community garden located on the Notre Dame Campus. 

This year we were able to purchase 31% of our seafood that was MSC certified.  This was an increase of 10% from the prior year. 


Local purchases made up over $7 million dollars or approximately 44% of our total purchases. 

The 2011-2012 academic year promises additional opportunities to be good stewards for the University.