Sustainability Inside and Out

Dining Services employs multiple sustainability practices within its foodservice operations and dining spaces. This includes kitchens that support energy and water efficient equipment, environmentally friendly food waste management systems, and landfill reducing programs, to name a few.

Sustainable Food Sourcing and Purchasing

Dining Services’ food sourcing and purchasing is primarily local (81% local food purchases). Our definition of local is food processed or manufactured within a 250-mile perimeter of Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

Tracking Food-Related GHG Emissions

In line with keeping global warming below 1.5⁰C, Rutgers Dining commits to the collective target of reducing the GHG emissions associated with the food we provide by 25% by 2030

LED Bulbs

About 5 years ago, Dining Services stopped buying incandescent light bulbs and instead, uses LED (light-emitting diode) Bulbs whenever possible.

Reusable Bag + Bottle Program

Rutgers Dining Services strives to ‘Feed People, Not Landfills.’ We contribute to sustainability by reducing our environmental footprint while enhancing our contribution to the social and economic capital of New Jersey, the nation and the world. Several attempts have been made to eliminate the disposables consumed by takeout. Rutgers Dining no longer provides plastic bags or paper cups at takeout, every student with a meal plan receives a reusable bag and bottle courtesy of Rutgers Dining. Our reusable bag + bottle program is intended to eliminate the use of plastic bags, styrofoam cups, paper waxed cups, lids and straws. Over 1.5 million cups, straws and lids have been saved from going into landfills to date. By switching to reusable bags, on average 300,000 plastic bags per semester are saved from going to landfills. Interested in getting one for yourself? Read more about it

Vegawatt Generator

Dining Services owns and maintains a Vegawatt Generator. This machine is a modified diesel engine that recycles discarded vegetable oil to generate electricity and hot water. Used oil discarded from the dining hall fryers is collected and transported to the Busch Dining Hall. This oil is then burned by the Vegawatt, which generates electricity for dining hall use.

Food Waste Digesters

In order to help reduce food waste, Dining Services rents 4 BioHitech SPROUT Food Waste Digesters. Left-over food is broken down by microorganisms and converted into environmentally friendly “waste water”. All food waste generated by the kitchens and the customers at Neilson Dining Hall, Busch Dining Hall, Henry’s Diner and Harvest Cafe is being “digested”. Eventually, the goal is for all dining hall units to have digesters, eliminating the need for food waste pickup at these locations.

For more detailed information, please visit the university website on sustainability. For any questions about sustainability, send an e-mail to